In 1939, a group of 90 young women began sharing their cultural, social, civic and philanthropic ideas, along with a strong desire to serve the needy, support our community and foster new friendships. What began as a Mother’s Club at Leland School soon became the Elm Grove Woman’s Club.
In the beginning, monthly meetings were held in local schools, and even local taverns! Their major activity was making beanbags for sick children at the Children’s Hospital and during World War II, bandage rolling and other civilian wartime efforts filled their time. Our chorus helped to create a lighter mood, and in 1943, the first “Village of Elm Grove Directory” was printed and distributed to the community as a public service.
By 1954, the membership had grown and a larger meeting place was desired. A dream was finally realized when a twelve-year old colonial Lutheran Church on Plank Road was for sale. Fundraising activities were created to raise money for the purchase, such as dances, luncheons, style shows, and rummage sales, many things that we continue to do today.
The clubhouse was offered for rent to private parties, and the proceeds from our fundraising helped fund the ballroom addition, which debuted in 1959. An exquisite crystal chandelier was ordered for the center of the ballroom, and a formal dance, called the Chandelier Ball, was held to acquire the funds for this purchase. The fixture was paid in full that evening, and since then, the Chandelier Ball/Jingle Bell Ball has become the fundraising social event of the year.
Since the beginning, the Elm Grove Woman’s Club has grown and flourished. Our organization has provided funding and durable goods for local educational institutions, hospitals, charitable organizations, community-based activities, and the volunteer services of our village government.
Today the dream lives on. The clubhouse, with its distinctive exterior and elegant interior, sits contentedly on Watertown Plank Road. Our club has evolved throughout its history to reflect the women of today. Its current membership of over 200 members exemplifies diverse talents, outlooks, and broad interests while holding true to the organization’s original values and mission. The spirit, energy and generosity of those original 90 young women still prevails.