The Woman's Club
The current Woman’s Club building originally started as an athletic club built in 1909. Through the years, the Girl’s Athletic Association (GAA), the Ladies Guild, and the Women’s Society became the Woman’s Club. The Woman’s Club had one mission: to promote more community spirit and better feelings. They were able to accomplish this in a variety of ways and still do so today!
Backstory and Context
This building has housed many events, had many purposes, and helped a lot of people in Washington Grove. After the original GAA clubhouse burnt down in 1908, the GAA sent a delegation to the President of the Washington Grove Camp Meeting Association (WGCMA), Major Samuel Hamilton Walker, to build a new clubhouse for the GAA which the President’s four daughters happened to be in! The GAA’s main focus was on tennis and track as Washington Grove had clay tennis courts (and still does right around the corner). The women of the GAA competed throughout Montgomery County, in Washington, D. C., and in different Washington Grove meets. During this time, the Ladies Guild of the WGCMA came out of the home church in Washington, D.C. and was very active in Washington Grove during the summers.
Within twenty years of its organization, the GAA began to expand their cause and became the Woman’s Club of Washington Grove in 1926. It was the first women’s organization to be solely made out of the desires of full-time Washington Grove Residents. It has its roots in meetings as early as 1910 and still has meetings today! Even before their organization in 1926, the Woman’s Club was very active in the war effort during World War I. During the Great Depression, when camp meeting attendance was dropping significantly, the Woman’s Club raised money to donate to the WGCMA general fund and increased their community outreach to help boost morale. The Woman’s Club planned marionette shows, carnival games, evening parties, rummage sales, road refurbishments, and even invited the Orchestra of Washington to play in order to keep the spirits of the WGCMA and its residents lifted.
Today, the Woman’s Club still seeks to promote community engagement and to improve the conditions in Washington Grove. They host many events throughout the year to help the community stay connected. They also have several outreach projects they donate and contribute to. I encourage you to explore the links below to learn more about the Woman’s Club of Washington Grove and the town itself. Images will be added after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and I can resume research.
Sylvia Tate Horan, A History of the Woman’s Club of Washington Grove
(Washington Grove: Woman’s Club of Washington Grove, 2001).
Philip K. Edwards, Washington Grove 1873-1937: A History of the Washington Grove Camp Meeting Association (Washington Grove: Philip K. Edwards, 1988).