Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wauna Social Club

Women have always throughout the ages been involved in volunteering to help others and to further education. It was common to help neighbors in times of need or emergencies, death, war, and depression when entire families banded together to provide aid. However it wasn't until the mid-nineteenth century that they had the time and means to make their volunteering activities part of their normal structure lives through formal movements. 
By 1890 a rapidly growing women's club movement spread across the nation. The movement was felt here in the Oregon-Washington territories as well. On April 24, 1890, the General Federation of Women's Clubs was was formed in New York by the 63 clubs attending a conference for this specific purpose. 
In Tacoma the Aloha Club and the Nesika Clubs invited all the women's clubs that they knew to join them in a convention to decide whether or not they too should form a state federation. 22 clubs attended the convention September 22-23, 1896. The vote was affirmative and on September 23, 1896, Mrs. Amy Stacy! President of the Aloha Club was installed as president of the new state federation. 
In 1907 Gig Harbor's Fortnightly Club was formed and joined the state federation. In 1916-17 They devoted themselves entirely to social welfare issues. According to Sandra Haarsager, Associate Professor of Communications, University of Idaho, their activities that year were "September it was child welfare issues, such as open air schools, the Children's Bureau, juvenile courts, parental schools and childhood songs. In October it was motion pictures, and in November legislation of interest to women and prison reform." 
13 women in Wauna formed the Industrial Women of Wauna in 1913. Those women were: Mrs. Mary Goldman, Mrs. Maud McDunnah Anderson, Mrs. Mary St. Dennis, Mrs. Nettie Chilvers, Mrs. Carrie Dennis, Mrs. Grace McKenzie, Mrs. Lucretia Mort Marvick, Mrs. Anne Hartquist Lindquist, Mrs. Hannah Ostrom, Miss Lolita Lamb (Murray), Mrs. Grace Connelly, and Mrs. Carrie Woodard.

Women at the Beach:  From left: Mrs. Lamb, Mrs. Lofgren, Mrs. Lindgren, Mrs. St. Dennis, Mrs. Knight, Mrs. Luters, Mrs. White, Mrs. Murray, unknown, unknown, Mrs. Harris, Mamie, Mrs. Blakesley, May Murray

On November 19, 1919, they decided to change the named to Wauna Social Club. Their mission statement stated "the object of this club shall be the social and civic betterment of our community, and as far as our influence may extend." Their motto "Cultivate your thoughts for they are you." 
A short history of the club states "The members were very conscious of trying to be orderly and business-like at the meetings and had a club copy of Robert's Rules of Order and a parliamentarian who sometimes conducted drills in parliamentary procedure. 
In 1919, remember the First World War was just ending, they decided to provide hot lunches for the students. They furnished pots, pans, knives, dish towels and of course, the food itself. 
In the 1920-30s school was a passionate cause. Their activities centered around all school activities whether the activity was a school play, field trip, athletic events, and so forth. The club furnished many items the schools themselves could not afford or had need of. Some of the items listed in their paper work include pencil sharpener, library books, piano and piano tuning, curtains and rings for the stage, lights and water. 
When there was enough money in the treasury to pay for the projects the club was involved in, they held card parties, ice cream socials, and when the project involved Union High School (presently Harbor Ridge Middle School), they held an annual Smorgasbord involving the entire greater Gig Harbor area. 
But let's not forget about the other community activities the club was involved with; there was the involvement with the traffic situation on State Route 302,  the work they did in order to accomplish the sidewalk on the Purdy Bridge, their support of the men in the military during both World Wars.  Their was also their donations to the Pierce County Welfare Department for the children, and providing various items including books to Remann Juvenile Detention Center.  Starting in 1962 they they became involved in the cleanup of Burley Lagoon, and in the rezoning of Burley Lagoon.  
In 1968-69 they wrote to Mr. Yamashita  “Because we are concerned about the esthetic environment of the area in which we live we would like you to remove the unsightly bundles of rusty wire dumped at the water’s edge in the Burley Lagoon, adjacent to the spit road State Highway #.  We also object to the dumping of oyster shells on the shores of Burley Lagoon.
“Also:  We are unaware that you have applied for, and received permission from the Army Corp of Engineers to build a dock in Burley Lagoon.    No public notice of such a request has been made, to our knowledge.  We would again protest such construction, as we have in the past.  
“We ask that you give thoughtful consideration to these concerns about our community.”
Basically the club wanted Burley Lagoon waters to be “joint use” rather than to allow Mr. Yamashita’s oyster growing operations to be expanded to the point only he would be able to use those waters.
And what about the educational involvement of the members for the members like the year they studied the history of Washington State. These women may have lived in the countryside, but they were not uneducated women.
Old Time Party at Mrs. Amos' house

If you were to ask any of the surviving members what they believe was the greatest value of the Wauna Social Club, what do you think would be their answer? According to an article in the Purdy Area News by Mike Shultz October. 19, 1988, Norma Martin said "Knowing your neighbors, caring." Betty Boyd said "It's friendship and staying together." And Mar Hoey replied "If I don't see Ruby at Wauna Club, I say, 'well, we better check up on her. If someone was needy, they (the club members) were there." 

Unfortunately, the club has been forced to disband and the membership has dwindled to three members. Look what we have lost as a community. 

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