3rd Vice President
GFWC Women’s Club of Vero Beach Restoration Project
VERO BEACH WOMEN'S CLUB RESTORATION FUND
Thank you donors, we have just begun!
For more information and to make a tax deductible donation please contact the Indian River Community Foundation, call 772-492-1407, or mail a check to Jeff Pickering at 5070 Florida A1A STE 200, Vero Beach, FL 32963
History of GFWC Women’s Club of Vero Beach
1915 January 29
- Plans under way for establishing a public library in Vero. Mrs. M. E. (Kate) Hard offered to donate her late husband’s collection of books to help get it started.
- Name of the new library would be in memory of Myron E. Hard.
1915 February 16
- Twenty-four charter members met at the Sleepy Eye Lodge to organize a Woman’s Club.
- A. W. (Irene) Young was elected President. Mrs. William (Elizabeth) Atkin, Vice-President. Mrs. Frank (Nettie) Harris, Secretary. Mrs. M. J. (Mabel) Travis, Corresponding Secretary. Mrs. F. E. (Pearl) Kingsbury, Treasurer.
- Regular meetings of the club will be held on first and third Tuesday of each month at the Sleepy Eye Lodge.
- Adopted the name “Woman’s Unity Club” and their motto “In Unity There is Strength.”
1915 March 2
- Plans for the establishment of a public library and the improvement of Pocahontas Park and the Depot ground were made by the woman.
- Annual dues of the club will be 50 cents.
- Four committees were established: Civic, Library, Social and Topic.
- Fred M. Crane offered his houseboat for a library. Mrs. Young instructed the library committee to have it moved into town from the canal and placed on an empty lot opposite the bank building owned by the Indian River Farms Company. (Corner of Seminole or 14th Avenue and Osceola Boulevard or 20th Street.) The building (boat) will be painted.
- Indian River Farms donated corner lot of Mohawk Avenue and 21st Street
1915 Apr 9
- Plans for taking part in the Vero Fair were made by the Woman’s Club.
- Plans discussed for a minstrel show (April 24) to benefit the library and baseball team. Another feature of the fair was an award for the best looking baby.
1915 May 4-21
- Indian River Farms Company offered to deed a lot for library purposes on the northeast corner of Mohawk Avenue (16th Street) and First Street (21st).
- Warranty Deed was awarded on May 17th to the Woman’s Unity Club.
- Irene Young, President offered the use of the north porch of the hotel for a temporary library room and the club arranged for bookcases.
- Duncan F. Cameron, architect prepared the plans for the new library building. It will be a one-room structure with a shingle roof and sides and an ornamental porch and entrance.
1915 June 1-18
- The name of the library was formally approved to call it the “Myron E. Hard Memorial Library” in recognition of the collection of books donated by his widow to start the library.
- The club adopted the architectural plans by Mr. Cameron. The total cost would be about $400.00.
- A circular letter was approved to be sent out asking for donations to help build the library.
1915 July 9-20
- Pearl Kingsbury was appointed acting librarian. Books were ready for distribution in the temporary quarters of the hotel. Many books were donated from the Davenport, Iowa library.
- It was approved to change the name of the club to “The Woman’s Club.”
- The library was removed temporarily to the home of Mrs. John (Reca) Atkin where it was open on Tuesday and Saturday afternoons.
- Plans for a Colonial Dance in the dining room of the Sleepy Eye Lodge on Thanksgiving to benefit the library. It was declared a success and they made about $35.
- The club has approximately $600 in their treasury and plans to start building was in the near future.
- The cost of the library building was now $1000. A loan of $400 was given by Farmer’s Bank.
- Motion was made and carried that they place posters around town asking people to clean up.
- Contract awarded to George B. R. Atkins for construction of the new library. It was decided to put in nine stained glass windows costing $5 each.
- Atkins started work on the library the first week of February. The building will be 24 feet in length and 48 feet wide with shingle side. The Indian River Farms Company promised to supply an ornamental front door.
1916 March 10 – Friday Evening
- THE NEW LIBRARY BUILDING IS USED FOR THE FIRST TIME – A benefit dance for the building fund was held even though the building was not yet complete.
1916 March 24
- The Redstone Lumber & Supply Company made arrangements to complete the interior of the library.
1916 May 4 and 5
- May Carnival was held at the opening of the new library and included exhibits for vegetables, citrus, flowers, and bakery goods. There was a fortune teller’s booth, Green Corn Dance by members of the Cow Creek Seminoles and outside there were many athletic activities, May Pole dance and a baseball game.
1916 May 16
- First Regular meeting of Woman’s Club held at the new [Myron E. Hard Memor ial] Library building
1917 January 15
- It was approved that the Woman’s Club raise one acre of cabbage. It was approved to ask some competent man and five ladies to be appointed on the Committee. All ladies agreed to pay one dollar toward the expense of planting this acre. (Helped to pay off mortgage.)
1917 February 20
- Mary Mills Patrick of Constantinople, Turkey presented a talk about her work in the girl’s school and the advancement of women in Turkey since the commencement of the war.
During the war years 1917-1918
- Young organized the American Red Cross Auxiliary with 15 members.
- Different phases of war work were carried on.
- Canning project during war and later carried on by club.
1920 January 6
- Reported that mortgage had been lifted.
- Nine new bookshelves were added and window box seats were built under each window
- Congressman Ruth Bryan Owen visited the Club and gave the club a print of the famous portrait of George Washington (CL)
- New addition of auditorium and kitchen added and dedicated about 1927 (CL) They also purchased a refrigerator and later installed a hot water heater
1940 April 19
- The library contains 11,000 volumes. The library is open six days a week 2:30-5:30 PM (VBPJ)
- S. B. Taylor organized the Junior Woman’s Club
1941 February 7
- “Bundles for Britain” committee is being formed under the sponsorship of the Vero Beach Woman’s Club (VBPJ)
1942 April 24
- Twenty-Second annual meeting of the Florida Library Association was a three-day convention with a reception held by the Vero Beach Woman’s Club (VBPJ)
1943 December 3
- Approximately 90 teen-agers turned out for the Thanksgiving dance sponsored by the Woman’s Club and inaugurating a new series of programs. (VBPJ)
- Oct – First President Mrs. A. W (Irene) Young died
- Fine Arts Department commissioned Ft Pierce artist A. E. Backus to do an early Florida landscape which hangs in the club house in honor of Irene Daley Young (1870-Oct 1957), Miss Lane (1860-Jul 1945) and Miss Elena K Mead (1909-Jun 1961).
- The Fine Arts Department also bought brass name plates for the Backus oil painting and the Mrs. Anna Brown sand painting.
- Organized the Indian River County Library Association due to the cry for help from the Club. The club turned over all books and equipment to the new association and agreed to house in the library for free until the new library was built February 1962.
Projects adopted by the Club:
- Beautification Day
- Youth Center
- Girl Scouts
- Community Christmas Tree
- Annual teacher reception
- Public Health Nurse and welfare – asked the county to assume responsibility for county nurse’s car – persuaded county to retain services of county health nurse Lila Bunkley
- Pennies for pines
- State Federation Clubhouse
- Trees planted in our local forests
- Crusade of Freedom
- Bond sales
- Senior and Junior Clubs
- Kiwanis and other club luncheons
- Library drives
- Provided paid librarian
- Red Cross
- American Citizenship Department
- Assisted in buying an American Flag which was to be presented to the class each month that had the most parents present at P.T.A. Meetings (1940-41)
- Music Festival sponsored by Club
- 1939 Contribution to Stephen Foster Memorial of $825
- Cleaner streets and sidewalks
- Toilet for public use
- Highway beautification one of the aims of club
- B. ? Bond which Club buys each year
- Contributions to endowment funds
- Chamber of Commerce Member
- Bundles for Britain sponsored
- Support of School band
- Sponsored truant officer in the city
- Entertained school teacher each October
- Upkeep of Club building each year
- Junior Woman’s Club
- Fine Arts Department
- Drove patients from Wabasso to Coral Gables for treatment during polio epidemic
- Furnished reference material for school children until the schools were adequately funded.
- Organized teen dances
- Temporary meeting places for many new churches
- During WW II acted as an emergency U.S.O
- When the school floors needed scrubbing, club members volunteered
- Clothing closet for needy students
- Milk program for children and established a school lunch program
- Christmas and Thanksgiving baskets
- Haven for young girls
- Happy Canine Helpers provided dogs for the handicapped such seeing-eye dogs
Paintings / prints
- Anna Brown sand painting (won a prize at the NY world’s fair)
- Charles Lasar “Orange Girl” – MISSING
- E. Backus oil painting “A Florida Scene” – According to VBPJ May 28 1964 – Mrs William Arther presented the painting by Beanie Backus called “A Florida Scene.” According to the VBWC minutes of October 1964 the Fine Arts Dept. purchased it from Mr. Backus and presented it to the club in honor of the three women. MISSING
- Portrait of George Washington
- Red captain’s chair was given to the Club for safe keeping by the family of an Indian River boatman – UNKNOWN
- Steinway piano – Oct 1964 – Donated
- The early years of 1914-1916 are abstracts from the newspapers: Fort Pierce News and Lucie County Tribune.
- From 1917 forward, details were abstracted from newspapers and the Minutes of the Woman’s Club
- CL – Charlotte Lockwood’s notes on the “History of Vero Beach Woman’s Club”
- VBPJ – Vero Beach Press Journal
Further information can be obtained or researched in the vertical files of the Archive Center at the Indian River County Main Library.
Picture was donated by Daphne Strickland for the Bicentennial book “Florida’s Historic Indian River County” 1976 by Charlotte Lockwood. See p.114