A his­tory of the Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club

This his­tory of the Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club is taken from the min­utes of the meet­ings from 1898 through 1979.

The Covington News - - MEMORY LANE -

I n the spring of 1895 a small group of ladies met at the home of MRS. J. N. Pace and or­ga­nized a club named the Flora Cul­tural Club of Cov­ing­ton with Mrs. E. O. Lee, pres­i­dent. In the fall of 1896 this lit­tle group changed the name to Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club and joined the Fed­er­a­tion of Women’s Clubs in 1898.

The club met once a week from 1895 un­til 1903, then met twice a month to 1915 al year. The meet­ing, Par­lia­men­tary meet­ing, Cur­rent Events meet­ing and Ge­or­gia His­tory meet­ing or what­ever the club de­cided.

Flower shows were an im­por­tant part of the club in the early years. The mem­bers grew and ex­hib­ited the flow­ers.

One of the first projects of the club was the begin­ning of a Li­brary for the com­mu­nity. In Fe­bru­ary 1898 the club chose a Li­brary Com­mit­tee and asked each club mem­ber to bring a book and sub­scribe $1.00.

When the amount reached $25.00, this Li­brary Com­mit­tee drew up a char­ter, Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion o Cov­ing­ton to run for 20 years. An up­stairs room in the Clark Bank­ing Co. (now Banks In­sur­ance Co.) was rented for the Li­brary and Miss Charles Porter was the first li­brar­ian and kept the li­brary open two after­noons a week (Not on Satur­day or Sun­day). Mrs. J. F. Rogers, a club mem­ber held a sto­ry­telling hour for chil­dren two after­noons a week. In April 1900 the build­ing and li­brary books were badly dam­aged by fire so the club ap­pointed a Li­brary Com­mit­tee to build a home for the li­brary. The club used many fund- rais­ing projects such as sup­pers, bazaars, plays and en­ter­tain­ments as well as in­di­vid­ual sub­scrip­tions.

On July 10, 1909 the club bought a 33 by 100 foot lot from Mrs. C. A. Har­well for $750 – (the lot on which the club build­ing is now lo­cated). It was un­til 1915 that the one story brick build­ing on Col­lege Street was built by J. R. McCord at a cost of $2500 and named Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club Li­brary.

The Ma­sons of Cov­ing­ton gave the Ma­son’s stained glass win­dow and the club put in the other stained glass win­dow. The Ma­son’s also laid the cor­ner­stone in 1915. Mrs. C. A. Sock­well and Mrs. J. R. Rogers wrote an ar­ti­cle for the club and placed it in the cor­ner­stone. In one of the rooms in the build­ing in the club opened the first pub­lic rest room closed in 1963.

The club Li­brary build­ing served as a com­mu­nity house for sev­eral years for school ban­quets, re­cep­tions for teach­ers, meet­ings of civic in­ter­est.

Another of the club’s projects was the plac­ing of a pav­il­ion at Spring Park (Academy Springs Park) and putting swings there for a play­ground, plant­ing flow­ers and putting the brick col­umns at the en­trance to the park. These col­umns are still there.

In 1923 lights and fix­tures and wa­ter in­stalled in the club build­ing by the coun­try and the city gave the floor lights (lamps).

Paving was put in front of the build­ing in 1926. The club’s as­sess­ment for this was $286. The club’s funds were in the Bank of New­ton County, which closed in De­cem­ber 1925. The club ladies col­lected and sold tin foil, served din­ners for the New­ton County Trade Board and paid the $286. An honor roll of every­one who gave the club $100 was put on the wall in 1923.

An un­known friend in 1925 do­nated $500 to­ward get­ting a sec­ond story on the build­ing. The club voted to be­gin at once but in Novem­ber 1925 re­pealed the de­ci­sion to add the sec­ond story. Dis­cussed an an­nex in 1928 but bids were too high.

De­part­ments of Home Life, Pub­lic, Af­fairs, In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs, Ed­u­ca­tion, Arts and Con­ser­va­tion were es­tab­lished in 1928 by the club.

Dur­ing the war years the mem­bers were very ac­tive in mak­ing sweaters, socks, ditty bags, and in­stead of meet­ings they worked on ban­dages and made things for the Red Cross.

The present Gar­den Club of Cov­ing­ton was formed from the Woman’s Club in Dec. 1929 with Mrs. E. E. Call­away, Pres­i­dent.

The club build­ing had no fans so in 1930 the mem­bers voted to dis­con­tinue meet­ings in June, July and Au­gust which is still in ef­fect to­day.

Two per­sonal per­pet­ual schol­ar­ships were given to Tal­lu­lah Falls School by club mem­bers. In 1923 Mrs. P. W. God­frey gave a $2000 schol­ar­ship in mem­ory of her hus­band and in 1949 the chil­dren of Aileen Pitts Corry gave a $2000 schol­ar­ship in her mem­ory.

Many dis­cus­sions were held sev­eral years rel­a­tive to begin­ning a Ju­nior Woman’s Club. No ac­tion was taken un­til 1945 when Mrs. Frank Nes­bit, club pres­i­dent, ap­pointed Mrs. Ann Mas­ten and Mrs. Hoke Ran­dall to or­ga­nize a Ju­nior Woman’s Club. This club was a Ju­nior Woman’s Club, an off­spring of the Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club. The name has been changed to Cov­ing­ton Ser­vice Guild.

The Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club pre­sented a gavel and scrap­book to this club.

Many do­na­tions of book­cases, books and magazine sub­scrip­tions were given to the Li­brary through­out the years from the begin­ning in 1898 un­til its clos­ing in 1963. At the time of its clos­ing there were about 2500 vol­umes. These were given to Tal­lalah Falls School, New­ton County School Li­braries, New­ton County Li­brary, and many to the min­is­ters in the county for their li­braries.

Cov­ing­ton Woman’s’ Club and Cov­ing­ton Ser­vice guild were hostesses to the Ge­or­gia Fed­er­a­tion Club In­sti­tute at Emory Col­lege, Ox­ford, in 1963. Mrs. W. E. Thornley, both mem­bers of Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club were hon­ored at the In­sti­tute by hav­ing $100 given to the Boy’s Dor­mi­tory Build­ing fund and their names were in­scribed on the plaque at the Boy’s Dor­mi­tory at Tal­lu­lah Falls School.

Ex­ten­sive re­mod­el­ing was done to the build­ing in 1962 and the name on the front of the build­ing was changed to Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club. Mrs. P.W. God­frey gave the money for this.

A joint cel­e­bra­tion of the Di­a­mond Ju­bilee of the Gen­eral Fed­er­a­tion of Women’s Clubs was held by the Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club and Cov­ing­ton Ser­vice Guild. Mem­bers wore yesteryear cos­tumes. At this meet­ing, Mrs. C. C. King was awarded a pin for 54 years of ac­tive ser­vice in the Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club ( In 1979 she has been a mem­ber 68 years). Miss Sal­lie Mae Sock­well, now de­ceased was given a Ci­ta­tion for 58 years ser­vice, 25 years of which she was trea­surer.

It was felt that a Ju­nior Club was needed so the in the summer of 1970 a com­mit­tee ap­pointed by Mrs. H. E. McKen­zie formed the present Cov­ing­ton Ju­nior Woman’s Club.

The Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club placed a wa­ter foun­tain in the park on the City Square in June 1976. Mrs. C.C. King, Mrs. Hugh King and Mrs. L. A. Pa­trick were hon­ored with Life Mem­ber­ships in 1976 for their more than 25 years ser­vice in the club.

When the Chapel at Tal­lu­lah Falls School was com­pleted Cov­ing­ton Woman’s gave the large Bi­ble for the pul­pit.

Mrs. H. L. (Mar­jorie) Cochran of Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club was elected Mother of the Year for the State of Ge­or­gia and was the first win­ner of the State Con­test from this club. She rep­re­sented Ge­or­gia and the Club in the na­tional con­test in May 1979.

The Char­ter of the Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion of Cov­ing­ton ex­pired in 1929 and was not re­newed so in 1978 At­tor­neys Don Ballard and Don­ald Stephen­son drew up a new Char­ter made to Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club. The build­ing and lot were deeded to three Trustees elected from the present club. They are Mrs. R. H. Pat­ter­son, Mrs. M. H. Wag­goner and Miss Carolyn Os­born.

The Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club has al­ways been very ac­tive in lo­cal, district, state and na­tional club work. Many of its mem­bers have served on District and State lev­els. This club has also won many District and State Awards dur­ing its 83 years as Cov­ing­ton Woman’s Club.

Look­ing Back sto­ries are a re­print of his­tor­i­cal ar­ti­cles from The Cov­ing­ton News, which has been in ex­is­tence since 1865.

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