In 1908 when Glendora was only 21 years old and not yet incorporated, a group of enterprising and courageous women decided that the time had come when a woman’s club was needed. On April 28, 1908 a meeting was called to order in the Opera House over the First National Bank, what is now 161 North Glendora Avenue. The purpose of the meeting was to consider the formation of a woman’s club. Thirty women attended.
The ladies agreed on a broad agenda of goals, but two were primary to their purpose: the building of a clubhouse and the establishment of a free library. Additional projects were a downtown restroom, clean streets, hitching posts, protection of the pepper trees that lined the streets and support for the “Good Roads Bonds” legislation.
A year later with 75 charter members the club historyed the State Federation of Woman’s Clubs and was admitted into the General Federation in 1911. In 1909 the Glendora Woman’s Club was incorporated to facilitate the funding of construction loans for their clubhouse. For over 100 years the Glendora Woman’s Club has remained dedicated to the advancement of civic, philanthropic and educational needs of the community.
Their Own Clubhouse
Several lots were offered to them for a clubhouse location, including one offered free of charge by George Whitcomb, the city's founder, but they had definite thoughts in mind and wanted a particular location. As a result of their flurry of activities, including a series of card parties held in 1917 and a concert by the world-renowned vocalist, Ellen Beach "Lark Ellen" Yaw, they raised enough money to purchase the lot at 424 N. Michigan (now Glendora) Avenue for the price of $350.
After purchasing the lot, they had had to raise money for the construction of their building. One of the ways they raised money as through a subscription contest, held by the Los Angeles Examiner. The club sold enough subscriptions to win the prize of a Cadillac (which they then sold for $1,892.00). Bidding instruction stressed, "Only contractors who are residents or property owners in Glendora are eligible to bid." On June 4, 1912 they accepted the low bid of $5,600 for construction of the clubhouse from R. M. Goebel. Plans were prepared by T.W. Wamsley. Total cost of construction ran $6,136.40 and with furnishing was $7,873.14.
On November 5, 1912, just 3 1/2 years from their initial gathering, the members held their first meeting in their new clubhouse...
Founders Of The Glendora Public Library
In addition to building their clubhouse, the ladies of the Glendora Woman’s Club were dedicated to establishing a free library. At their regular meeting on February 7, 1911, Mrs. J. A. Jones made a motion that the club should undertake to establish a free library for Glendora. This motion passed and by March of 1911, a library committee had been formed consisting of Mrs. J.A. Jones, Mrs. L.N. Suydam and Mrs. J.M. Lewis. These ladies rented rooms for library use, established hours of operation and hired a librarian.
Eventually the Library was moved to rooms over the First National Bank Building. The monthly expenses were approximately $27.00 of which the Board of Trade (Chamber of Commerce) contributed $6.00 per month.
From early 1911 the club worked to increase the number of books available for loan. The library was open every day with regular hours. All the books were carefully numbered and classified in accordance with the rules of the American Library Association.
The members of the Glendora Woman’s Club financially supported and managed their library with its approximately 1000 books through April of 1912 when they agreed to freely gift their fully operational library to the newly incorporated City of Glendora.
On May 1, 1912 the City of Glendora assumed the financial support of Glendora Woman’s Club library, formally adopting the library as part of city government on May 20, 1912 by Ordinance 43.
On May 22, 2012, during the Library’s Centennial Celebration, the Glendora City Council recognized the Glendora Woman’s Club as the Founder of the Glendora Public Library.
In the early days of the Glendora Woman’s Club, 75 women came together who were dedicated to building a clubhouse, establishing a permanent library and improving the quality of life in their small town.
The ladies incorporated their club, purchased a club seal and borrowed money from the local bank so that they could purchase a lot on Glendora Avenue and pay for building plans and engineering studies. They constructed a wood framed Craftsman style clubhouse which was completed in November of 1912. The original clubhouse still exists within the renovation done in the middle 1950s which moved the stage from the north to the east side of the building.
The Glendora Woman’s Club founded the Glendora Public Library in May of 1912, freely gifting their 1000 book library operation to the City of Glendora. Today the members of the Glendora Woman’s Club continue to support the Library as their primary philanthropy.
Another incentive and project of the early GWC was rewarding citizens who cleaned up the streets and who trimmed the pepper trees along Michigan (now Glendora) Avenue, by giving them a free luncheon. The club also took active part in securing trees for other streets in the city. Many pine trees were planted in the Glendora Mountain Park and they saw that hitching posts in shady places were provided. The GWC worked to get stop signs installed at busy intersections and campaigned for bonds for 300 miles of macadamized roads in Los Angeles County. In a newspaper clipping dated August 6, 1908, it stated, "The Good Roads bonds carried three to one. Glendora did splendidly. The number of votes polled in favor was greater than that of any city of its size in the county and proportioned 12 to one in favor at the polls. Mrs. Foster Elliott and Mrs. W.P. Nye of the Woman's Club served punch to refresh faithful voters, and Mrs. Baker's three-seater was employed to see that people got to the polls." It continued, "The success of the movement shows what the people of the town can do when all pull together and work."
A tireless and growing group, the clubwomen kept busy with project to help others less fortunate. Clothing was packed for the Los Angeles Maternity Home, fruit was canned for the Orphans' Home and fresh fruit was collected for other charitable groups. In 1917 they founded the Mexican Friendly Center, which remained in existence until 1943. This Center was where Mexican ranch workers and families were taught homemaking fundamentals new to them in this country.
At one time, scholarships for nurses were a project of the club. Another was cooperation with the YWCA to welcome new residents by holding morning coffees; they also organized and staffed the Well-Baby Clinic.
As the Glendora Woman’s Club celebrates its more than 104 years of service to Glendora, two of their accomplishments continue to stand out: Founding of the Glendora Public Library:
Since 1912 the club has maintained an important financial and philanthropic commitment to the Library. In addition to our annual gifts the GWC donates to the Library’s Memorial Collection by purchasing books in honor of deceased members. Our members have served on the Library’s Board of Trustees since the beginning in 1912 and continue to do so today.
The ladies of the Glendora Woman’s club held their first meeting in their new clubhouse in November of 1912. Before the clubhouse was built, in January of 1910, a motion was made that the clubhouse (when built) would be available for rent for receptions and teas. That motion passed and the clubhouse has remained available for rent since its opening in 1912. Now 100 years later, and after several renovations, the clubhouse has recently been designated an historical resource in the downtown village area by the City of Glendora Historic Preservation Committee and the Glendora Historical Society.
Annually they continue to support numerous programs, including Holiday Baskets and the Campership project of the Glendora Coordinating Council. The last several years, the general club, along with their different departments, contributed to EYE-DAS, American Heart Association, OASR, Glendora Preservation Foundation, American Cancer Society, Glendora Little League, San Gabriel Hospice, and WINGS. The latter, a shelter for abused women and their children, also received support of clothing and other items and were the Potpourri Department's recipient of Christmas gifts. The list goes on and on.
The Glendora Woman’s Club is a tax exempt California Charitable Organization. We sponsor a major fundraiser each year - The Spring Fashion Show. This fundraiser along with donations to New Unto Others Thrift Shop and our clubhouse rentals support our community charities.
The Glendora Woman's Club has Celebrated 100 Years of Service to Our Community!
Glendora Public Library
The GWC Today