One hundred twenty-five years is a long time for a volunteer organization to last, but a local club has met that milestone this year.
In 1896, the Woman’s Club of Danville was incorporated, as a member of the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs, an international volunteer organization, with headquarters in Washington, DC. It began when members of a literary club expanded their horizons, and became involved in many forms of public service. At first, dues of $3 per year were used to rent rooms where members could plan their community outreach, host lectures, and promote other public issues.
Many people in Danville benefitted from the work of this club. They were responsible for the introduction of various health services, and testing for safe milk supplies, assistance for families who could not afford to purchase proper shoes and clothing for their children, a “Rest Room” in the Vermilion County courthouse, where women could relax while waiting for transportation to a job, and countless other good works.
At one time over 300 women were members. A potential member had to fill out an application and be “approved” by a committee. Many women were wives of doctors, lawyers and prominent businessmen in Danville. Membership was limited, and there was a “waiting list” to become a member. In 1940 the club purchased their official club house on North Vermillion Street. Membership dwindled, and it was no longer feasible to maintain the house, so it was sold to an individual in 1993.
Due to the smaller membership, the Woman’s Club of Danville merged with a smaller woman’s club in 2013, and became Danville Illiana Woman’s club. Even though small in numbers, these club women still do several good service projects, currently supporting Fair Hope Children’s Ministry, Women’s Care Clinic, various food pantries and other small projects, and are proud to be a part of this longstanding organization.
At the Eighteenth District meeting in Fairmount on Sept. 18, this club was honored and recognized for the 125 years of service.
Betty J. Hall, club secretary and club member for 65 years, Danville