|Throughout Arizona, woman's clubs have made their mark, organizing libraries, aiding museums and improving schools. Even before Arizona became a state, women worked to build their communities and to educate themselves about state and national issues.
Theme: Women in Community Building
|Woman's Clubs have been active in Arizona for over one hundred years. Women representing five clubs from Bisbee, Florence, Prescott, Phoenix and Tucson formed the Arizona Federation of Woman's Clubs in 1901 at a meeting in Phoenix. This federation focused on education and improvement of communities and the state. Many clubs from Arizona towns eventually joined the General Federation of Women's Clubs which united similar organizations across the nation. Working together through these clubs, women organized libraries, beautified their communities, improved schools and educated themselves about community and national issues. They also became involved in cultural preservation and local museums. Through their activity, they shaped the state. In several communities, club buildings still stand, and some of them are still in use.
Casa Grande Woman's Club Building
The Casa Grande Woman's Club Building was constructed with stones from the nearby desert. Working with husbands or friends, each club member donated a wagonload of rocks or sand to create this cobblestone building, which opened in 1924. The building displays women's strong connection to the natural environment in early Arizona, and like other women's club buildings, exemplifies the theme of community building. The Casa Grande Woman's Club founded the town's first library in 1913 which was later housed in the Woman's Club building. This club belonged to the General Federation of Women's Clubs, and in the small town of Casa Grande, women performed vital community building work to develop cultural resources. For example, many members played a very active role in the Casa Grande Valley Historical Society. The building, a National Register site, is now owned by the city. The Woman's Club disbanded in 2006, but the club's former home is a testament to the hard work of the women in Casa Grande.
Tempe Woman's Club Building
The Tempe Woman's Club began in 1912, the year Arizona became a state. The women built a small clubhouse in 1916 at the corner of Apache and Mill in Tempe. In 1936, they completed the new clubhouse at the corner of 13th and Mill Streets that is still in use today. This building is on the National Register of Historic Sites, and this woman's club is the oldest organized club in the city. Club members have used the facility to support a variety of charities throughout the years, and the building also provided a venue for social and educational programs.
To pay for the building, members served dinners at the Clubhouse for a variety of groups such as the Lions Club, Rotary, Eastern Star and the Arizona State Teacher's College Football Banquet. They also held dinners and parties to raise money for charities, schools had hospitals. Some of the organizations the women supported included the Child Crisis Center; Ladmo's Boy's and Girl's Clubs; Tempe City Library Society; Salvation Army; Meals on Wheels; Tempe Historical Society; and Tempe Beatification. The clubhouse became the center of social and civic activity for many women residing in Tempe whose influence was felt throughout the community.