Idaho Free Press from Nampa, Idaho on February 27, 1976 · Page 85
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Idaho Free Press from Nampa, Idaho · Page 85

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Nampa, Idaho
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Friday, February 27, 1976
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Page 85
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^M^WMI^^MM Woman's Century Ckib The Idaho free Cress. Friday. February 27.1876-F-5 Croup serves community H MarMiakrin »^ii..:.i. , . . * Rack in 1887. jusi two years after ihe lown of Nampa was a " more t h a n a twinkle in the ···' of f o u n d e r A l e x a n d e r 'S. there were reports of a i i i ' r a r y society "at which · u r r e n t s u b j e c t s were ablv liscussed." Records do not show what lecame of Ihis group, but it vnultl nut beat all surprising lo earn thai il was the forerunner if Ihe club formed in isw and till flourishing in the com- n u n i t y l o d a j . the W o m a n ' s Century Cluh. The t u r n of the century wns an Ceiling lime in America here were only « slates, of vhich Idaho was Ihe -Brd; Ihe average A m e r i c a n worker earned 22 cents an hour: ami here were fewer than 150 miles if paved highway in Ihe whole .'nilcd Slates. Vaudeville was hriving and in the fast, ex- eriments were being conducted vilh motion picture film which vnuld lead in about three years o "The Great Train Robbery." he f i r s l t r u l y s u s p e n s e f u l m o v i e . The V a n d e r b i l l s ' mansion in glittering Newport vas the talk of society, having cos! $5 million before (hey lought a stick of furniture. Nampa was still a frontier ·illage of 799 souls and countless a c k r a b b i t s . l a i d on the a g e b r u s h - c o v e r e d w a s t e s jelwcen Boise and the thriving own of Caldwell. It boasted a ailway station, a post office, a ew stores and houses and a a m i l y hotel. A brisk Irade upplied the mining camps in Silver Cily and DeLamar, and lorse-drawn wagons were a ommon sight heading in and out of town on the dusty trails erving as roads. Life in early Nampa was in- leed a rugged pioneer struggle, nil in spite of the hardships, many of Ihe women, who were rom homes of culture and ·omfort in the K a s t . longed for ome sort of c u l t u r a l and ducalional center in their new lome lown. Mrs. H e n r i e t t a M a n s f i e l d , newspaper woman and editor of tie Idaho Leader, was Ihe juiding spiril in bringing about he organization of a woman's :lub. T h r o u g h i n f o r m a t i v e i r i i c l f " ; a n d persuasive she conducted a campaign lor lhat e d i t o r i a l s successful objective, whiclf rulniinatedTn January of 1900 with the form a t i o n of ihe "Century Club." Mrs. Mansfield was chosen as (he first president. Mrs. Slen- mcier was vice president, Mrs. Hammond was secretary, and Mrs. C o d i n g h a m , ' was treasurer. The other 27 charier members included Ihe Mcsdames Sleinmeier. Dewcy. Mock, Kesl, Jennings. King. J.j. W a l l i n g . H a m m o n d , Cot- lingham. Hurduni. Partridge. WiUcrding. H a r t . G r i f f i t h , Hill, llensley. K s t a b r o o k . G r e e n , J o r d a n . D u f f e s . B e r n a r d , McCee. Hull. Mansfield and Misses Cass. H a t c l i f f e and Una Madden. Their staled aim was "not so much to cram Ihe brain as to Irain the brain to think and act for itself. To keep apace with the march of progress -- never so rapid as al Ihe present." The motto adopted was "The Createsl Good to Ihe Greatest Number:" Iheir colors were white and gold: and the while rose was chosen as the club (lower. The first projecl, suggested and organized by Mrs. Marr- sfield. was Ihe establishment of a free public reading room and library. In their first year, according to Annie Laurie Bird in "My Home Town." the Woman's C e n t u r y Club reported establishing "kindergarten for children of four or more years and Ihe earning of quile a neal sum lo purchase books for the proposed library." On Oct. 23.' 1904 the club celebrated Ihe opening of two rooms in Ihe Hickey Building, nicely decorated and supplied w i t h book shelves, (ables, chairs, pictures, potted plants, etc.. and an " o v e r f l o w i n g supply" of books. A f t e r exlcnsive negotiations, in 1907 the club obtained a Carnegie grant of $10.000 for the construction of a library. E.H. Dewey donated a lot on Second Street to the city, and on March 7. 1908, the Nampa Carnegie Library formally opened, and lias continuously operated since thai day. although now it has moved to a new location on Kirsl Slreet and n t h Avenue S. The old Carnegie b u i l d i n g now houses Ihe Y.W.C.A. and is undergoing e x t e n s i v e i m - provemenls. Mrs. Jacob l . o c k m a n , president of Ihe Century Club from 1910 to 1912. was named to the library board and served in different capacilies with Ihe hoard for 50 years, Not content to resl on (heir laurels after the success of Ihis venture, (he club went on to oilier enterprises. They aided Ihe establishment of Nampa General lluspila! in 1912. with various fund-raising drives to help put the hospital on a sound financial basis. A n o t h e r project was the erection of a drinking fountain on one of Ihe principal streets d u r i n g N a m p a ' s horse and buggy days. The fountain was described in the paper as being "greatly appreciated by man and beast." U n f o r t u n a t e l y when the horse was crowded out by (he automobile whose Ihirs! was quenched al the service station. Ihe f o u n t a i n , which had cost more t h a n S10Q, was cast aside. A happier ending befell a later project, when (he club was instrumental in securing (he land for Kurtz Park and aided the city in developing it. It is still a lovely little park, enjoyed by many residents as well as N o r t h w e s t Nazarene College students, whose campus borders il. The club has probably contributed to every good cause promoted by (he city of Nampa. They raise f u n d s for loan scholarship funds, Ihe children's home. The Salvation Army, and aid other emergency causes when fires, flood and other catastrophes strike. And the club deserves r e c o g n i t i o n for (he beautification of l.akevievv Park with the rose garden, in which C.WW roses were planied in 1940. After the entry of the United Stales into World War I I . the Century Club became involved in constant patriotic causes and wartime fund-raising. The group's c l u b house, purchased in 192K from the Sommcrmeier family, pioneer Nampa residents, is a handsome old frame house which the w o m e n have redecorated withiiiil changing Ihe regal Vicloriail c h a r a c t e r of Ihe original home. In addition lo using the house for meetings and activities, Hie members have made il available to the comm u n i t y for receptions, recitals and other meetings and functions During its 70 years of existence, the Woman's Century Club has bar) many officers ami m e m b e r s of o u t s t a n d i n g a b i l i t i e s . One d i s t i n g u i s h e d member and president was Klizabelh Karchcr, generally recognized as Nampa's first pioneer resident. Moving here from New York Slale in 18H3 w i t h her f a m i l y , she married George Karchcr and homesleaded west of Nampa on what is now known as Karchcr Uoad. Just as her husband was i d e n t i f i e d w i t h N a m p a ' s progress and a g r i c u l t u r a l development, Mrs. Karchcr was i d e n t i f i e d w i t h every progressive program sponsored by Ihe community. She was a teacher by profession and all her life she maintained a lively interest in children and Iheir svelfare. In 1901 the club joined the district organization: the stale f e d e r a t i o n in 1905 and the general Federation of Women's Clubs in 191G. Today the club is a vital and active group in Nampa's social scene. It is the largest women's service club in (he area with approximately 155 members. The president in this Bicentennial year is liuth McConncll, who says the members are more interested t h a n ever in serving (heir community. "We hope to continue our present projects, including Ihe organizalion and decorating of Ihe Historical Sociely Museum Library. It should be ready lo open to the public this month," she added. "We w i l l keep women of our club as well as the c o m m u n i t y informed of civic needs, and of course we will always be available to aid the f u t u r e needs of our community as it grows." Indeed, Ihe g r o w l h and shaping of (he city of Nampa owe much to the 76-year-old Woman's .Century Club. The Woman's Century Club is housed in this spacious old frame building at 1624Second Streets. On a sunny day in June, 1936, the Delphian Study Group of the Century Club gathered on the porch of the Dewey Palace Hotel to have their picture taken. These skimpily clad beauties are riding on the 1930 Harvest Festival Queen's Float, sponsored and decorated by the Century Club with Mrs. M. A. Gould as chairman. fe. Mrs. Ruth McConnell, current president o? the Woman's Century Club, says the group will always be available to assist the future needs of the community. Mrs. L. R. Bice, president of the club in 1953, displays a petit-point picture which she worked on for two and a half years and exhibited in the first handcraft fair for women sponsored by the Century Club in that year. The Best Place to Bring Your Family For CHINESE AND AMERICAN DINNERS... OBfNATOWW CAFE 113-13th Ave. S. DOWNTOWN NAMPA PRIVATE BANQUET ROOM FOR UP TO 150 OPEN EVERY DAY 11:30 A.M. to 3:00 A.M. WE'RE MORETHAN JUST A BANK... we'd love the opportunity to serve you! Idaho BankTrustCo, M»ir-C*i FtMiil [Mpcil Intu'aice CorporiHo-i 324-12m Ave South. Nampa

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