Early History of the GFWC Madison Valley Woman's Club
Little is known to this writer of the exact origins and history of our Club other than a group of women, during the early years of the last century, coming together in friendship and joining or forming the Priscilla Club or Priscilla Sewing Circle. World War I prompted a change of posture from that of social assemblage to a commitment of their time and talent, in conjunction with the Red Cross, to “war work.” After the Great War ended, this need or desire to volunteer and provide worth to the community was the impetus for founding the Madison Valley Woman’s Club in April 1920 and subsequent membership of the State Federation in 1921. The first President was Mrs. Bert Maynard. Another member at that time was a 16 year old new-comer to the community, Mrs. Florinda Francesca Womack. Frances, as she was known, remained an active member, though honorary in later years, until her demise in 2005 at the age of 100 years. Numerous and diverse projects were organized, supported and/or funded by the members. To name a very few: purchasing eleven acres for the first garbage dump; building two outdoor toilets for the school; installing a metal fence, still in existence, around the Valley Cemetery; purchasing an electric saw for the school shop and an operating table for the hospital; and a $500 donation to the Galen Chapel fund. Early fundraising activities included food sales, Commercial Club Dinners, an annual Soil Conservation District meeting luncheon and other “benefits.” On January 22, 1971, another fundraising enterprise, the Nearly New Shoppe, a thrift store located in rented quarters on Main Street, opened its doors. The owner of the building, certain this project would not succeed, charged no rent for the first month and the rest is history. (Sept. 2006)
Fiscal Year 2012-2013, the Nearly New Shoppe receipts for the first time exceeded $100,000 which allowed us to donate $52,000. to many Community Organizations. (Sept. 2013).
The Nearly New Shoppe continues to generate receipts in excess of $100,000. In addition, the club raffled a Quilt at the 2013 Hunter's Feed, and had another successful 2013 Holiday Bazaar with a record 80+ spaces sold. The Holiday Bazaar is held on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. (Sept 2014)
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