The Women’s Club of Winter Park

 

“To advance the social, civic, educational and moral welfare of Winter Park, and also to seek by cooperation with other similar clubs to promote knowledge of, and interest in, the work of women throughout the state and nation.”

The Women’s Club gave female residents the chance to express themselves in a gender segregated society. The quotation above came from the organization’s first club book. The club experience many challenges at its founding, such as the lack of a meeting location. Despite this, they were able to find meeting space and spread their community betterment message.  Subsequently, clubwomen contributed a great deal to Winter Park and the Women’s Club presence today symbolizes both a link to the past as well as a community service tradition that continues today.  


Coming Together

The original planners of the club were Lucy Blackman, Alice Knox and Lucy Meriwether in 1914.  These women were not the officially founders of the club.  That honor goes to Mrs. Helen Morse who officially held the Women’s Club first meeting in ‘Osceola Lodge’ on January 15, 1915. Mrs. Morse was the first president of the club with Mrs. Blackman as her vice President and Mrs. Hiram Power as secretary/treasurer.


Sixteen women formed the core of new organization. While they were dedicated and committed, they didn’t have a consistent meeting location. They held their meetings in various locations, for example at Hooker Memorial Hall, the Town Hall, homes of members, and the library. In 1917, the secretary/treasurer of the club initiated a search for a permanent location. The search ended when Charles Morse (Mrs. Morse’s husband) offered them a permanent location and an additional five thousand dollars towards the construction of a club building.  Other members also contributed one hundred dollars for the clubhouse to be built.  Construction began on the Women’s Club permanent home in 1920.  The clubhouse was finished in early 1921 and the first meeting held in the new building on January 21st.   The club house became the center for socializing and culture for the whole community, but it also provided a base to expand club women’s efforts to attract more members and educate women in Winter Park.  The club house included the Helen Morse Hall, an auditorium were women gave lecture and conducted discussions on different subjects.