The History of the Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc.
 

The Woman's City Club House
The Woman's City Club House

  The ClubHouse as it appeared on November 18,1927 photo from the original program for the formal opening of the Club.



 
 

**Note:  Anyone interested in joining this wonderful organization can contact them through their website.  March is Women's History month and a perfect time to become involved with community activities, helping out and having 
fun also.  A little time and effort makes a big difference in people's lives.  Laura

 
    The Women's City Club of Oswego was founded in 1918. The first president of the club was Mrs. C.R. Harvey.  Dr. Harvey, District Health Officer in Oswego at that time met a certain Dr. Bodish who was sent to Oswego to help administer the Food Administration Program of President Herbert Hoover during World War 1. Ours was not the usual group organized by a mutual click of women but on called together by a man, Dr. Harvey. Dr. Harvey was requested by Dr. Bodish, who was very concerned with the work of the Belgian War Relief in the early days of World War I, to invite an audience of women and to present the needs of the Belgium People. They came and listened. Then they carried out many worthwhile projects under the leadership of Mrs. Harvey chosen February 8, 1918 to be president. This organization was formed to promote educational, civic and philanthropic work in the community and to bring into relations of mutual helpfulness the women of the City of Oswego, N.Y. 

 On November 29,1919 the local club joined the New York Federation of Women's Clubs. Members were anxious to broaden their scope and keep abreast of the activities of other like groups. On May 23,1922 the Woman's City Club of Oswego NY was elected to membership in The General Federation of Women's Clubs.  On January 30,1926 the Woman's City Club of Oswego became incorporated under the name Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc. They would have meetings at their private homes or hold meetings at the Pontiac Hotel. Early programs were most elaborate, bringing of the best speakers, authors, musicians and even Opera to Oswego.

 The Second President, Mrs. Lucy Norton 1919-1921, a teacher in Oswego Normal School, departmentalized the Club. Music meetings were held on the First Monday evening of the month, Literacy on the Second Tuesday evening of the month, Home Economics on the Third Monday evening of the month, Civic group on the Fourth Monday evening of the month and the General Business session on the Last Saturday of the month in the afternoon at 3:00PM with a Tea following the session. It was then a group of 300 women, one of the largest in the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs.

 The Third President, Mrs. Carrie Paddock 1921-1923, had further aims for the club, a Literacy program was performed at S. Mary's Hall in June 1922 and the proceeds to be used as a nucleus for the Building Fund which went toward the purchase of the Club House.

 The Fourth President, Mrs. William Blackburn 1923-1926 was very stately in manner and of pleasing voice.

 The Fifth President, Mrs. Frederick Leighton 1926-1928, was a financier, philanthropist, organizer and educator. The Woman's City Club was incorporated on March 31, 1926. Mrs. Leighton's administration was one of top speed activity and accomplishment. In 1927 the Board of Directors decided that it would benefit the club to purchase a building to hold their meetings as the city was then on it's way to becoming a boom town, and the property would become an extremely valuable investment for the club. The president at that time of the club was Mrs. Frederick Leighton. Through her dynamic efforts the Club House was purchased from Kingsford and Higgins for $6500.00. Renovations and repairs were not to exceed $2500.00.   On February 14,1927 the Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc. purchased the current Club House , a private home. Upon reviewing the title search it came to light that the property the home is situated on now, was originally sold by the People of the State of New York to Alvin Bronson May 31, 1825. Mr. Bronson was a former Mayor of Oswego in the 1850's. The home was renovated to accommodate the clubs membership for their meetings. The formal opening of the Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc. was held on November 18,1927. With a full program of guest speakers, Hon. Daniel H. Conway (Mayor of Oswego), Chairman Mrs. Fenton MacCallaum of the Fifth District of Northern Federation of Women's Clubs, Mrs. William J. Milligan President Northern Federation of Women's Clubs, Mrs. M.M. Lucid Director Fifth District of State Federation of Women's Clubs. The Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc. consisted of 9 Officers, a Club House Committee of ten and a full membership of 300, the largest membership the club has ever known.

 The Sixth President, Mrs. Udella (Lula) Bartlett 1928-1930, was a musician and formed the Woman's Club double quartet and Woman's City Club Chorus. She became the 13th President of the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs. She was the first member of the Fifth district to hold that office. A Student Loan Fund was set up and much money was sent to the Near East Relief. Mrs. Bartlett had the morning musicals of Watertown on the programs for the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs.
 The Seventh President, Mrs. Reuben Lavine 1930-1932. She played piano beautifully. Musical group continued and put on Old Folks concerts with old-fashioned costumes and polk bonnets. Concerts were held to pay the mortgage. Nan Russell was in the musical group, the individual groups were so large they separated in many of the present day groups in Oswego which had their origin with the Woman's City Club. Mrs. Lavine passed away in 1987.

 The Eighth President, Mrs. Lester Turney 1932-1934, who later became Mrs. Harry King put on many one act plays and did a good job of writing poetry.

 The Ninth President, Mrs. Clarence Leighton 1934-1936 did a great deal of entertaining and raised money by card parties in her home. On Saturday afternoon one could always look forward to the most beautifully decorated tea tables with silver and table arrangements. She brought her own great interest, Art to the Club.

 The Tenth President, Mrs. Alanson Page 1936-1938, and her daughter put on Christmas Children's Parties. She was proud that the Woman's City Club was the only group with a Club House of their own.
 President Mrs. Elbert Gaeta 1938-1940, was the West Baptist Minister's wife. And they were not here too long but left to do great missionary works in Japan.
 President Mrs. Edwin Waterbury 1940-1942, sincerely carried on the work of the Welfare Department. She had very successful card parties. First Aid classes were held. Club went on record of approving the appropriation of money for the restoration and expansion of Oswego Normal School. A concert was held to raise money for the project.

 President Mrs. S. M. Peters 1942-1944, sponsored teas and dances for the Cadet Air Corps based at the State Teachers College and assisted in the various branches of the Red Cross, making bandages, collecting for drives and being helpful in other ways. The Club went on record of opposing socialized medicine. Club House was rented for Nurse's Aid Group.

 President Mrs. David Russell 1944-1946, had a mortgage burning as enough money had been raised through all the programs and projects past and current to pay off the mortgage.

 President Mrs. John O'Connor 1946-1950, had visions of renting the upstairs area as an apartment, and getting rid of some of the furniture. Another mortgage was taken out to finance the renovations. A new furnace was installed, new roof up on the house and the apartment was rented. Meetings changed to supper meetings. The membership was now at 72. Money was given to the hospital and to the Philomalians. The Woman's City Club played an important part when Oswego County celebrated the centennial. Players rented the apartment for one year. Mrs. Ruth Mowry chosen as President of the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs. The exterior of the Club House was painted.

 President Mrs. Arthur Smith 1950-1954, put on hat shows. Silver Tea Set and Silverware was purchased. Parlor and dinningroom was painted. The constitution was changed to opening meetings with a Salute to the Flag, singing one verse of America and closing with Mispah benediction. Programs were serving meals to the Garden Club, Medical Auxiliary, Farm Bureau and the Winter Club. Also worked with scouts and held Children's Christmas Parties.

 President Mrs. Evelyn Turner 1954-1956, hat shows continued and the Woman's City Club of Oswego hosted the Northern New York Federation Convention that year at the Pontiac Hotel with Speaker Dr. Foster Brown. The Club received a certificate from the General Federation of Women's Clubs of Washington, DC. Ladies rod to a Tea at Hewitt Union with a police escort. The membership was 78 now.

 President Mrs. Zelma Turney King 1956-1958, President for a second time, hat shows continued, a play presented and our Sunshine Fund started with Mrs. Dorothy Odsted chairman. Mrs. Emma Lou Morris in charge of refreshments for Hat Shows, Campbells Department Store furnished the hats for the Hat Shows.  Dale Carnegie Courses were held.  Mrs. Marshall donated an original art painting and Mrs. Anne Riley won the painting. The mortgage was again paid off and another $2500.00 taken out for more renovations. The front porch was removed, shrubbery planted, a new gas range was purchased, lace tablecloth purchased and new siding on the Club House. The Club House's valuation was set at $25,000.00.

 President Mrs. Sidney Davis 1958-1960, was the founder of the Bridge Marathon held at our Club House. The Club sold tickets for two plays to be presented at the Pontiac Hotel for the benefit of the YMCA. The Woman's City Club made arrangements for a campaign kick off dinner for the Community Chest. Members of the Club served as judges for snow sculpturing at Oswego State College. They contributed money and sponsored a commencement breakfast for 200 graduates and their dates from Oswego State  College. Contributed for Foreign exchange student. A benefit Musical was presented at the Club House as another fundraiser. More upkeep and additions to the Club House, new carpet installed, and new wallpaper purchased. Mrs. Nan Russell became President of the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs.

 President Mrs. Teresa Marshall 1960-1962, invited the newly formed Art Guild to have exhibits and Tea at the Club House. Dinning room table was purchased with pads, a flag was purchased. Projects were a cookbook started and rummage sales held.

 President Mrs. Grant Lindsley 1962-1964, she had been the Fifth District Chairperson for the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs as well as Chairperson of the Oswego County State Federation, and Mrs. Charles Turner was Fifth District Chairperson of the Oswego County State Federation. Donations were made to the Heritage Foundation, Exchange Student Fund and Salvation Army Doll fund. The usual fund raising activities continued.

 President Mrs. John Morris 1964-1966, it was an active year The New York Federations of Women's Clubs was entertained at the Club House. 20 attended the hat show at YMCA, it was the 5th Annual Show, Mrs. Mowry was the Moderator. The Male Quartet from the Congregational Church was the entertainment. Fred's Hi Fi Record Center furnished additional music during the show.

 President Mrs. William Caruso, 1966-1968, a new mortgage was taken out for repairs to the apartment upstairs. The Club purchased new stationary, contributed to Korean Child Fund as sponsored by the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs. Club house was opened for sewing of cancer dressings.

 President Mrs. David Russell 1968-1970, serving for a second time, began a fundraiser of serving Lenton Luncheons.

President  Mrs. John Cochrane 1970-1972.  The American Association of University Women honored Mrs. David Russell. Remodeling of the apartment still taking place. The mortgage was again paid in full. The Club now has 65 members.

 President Mrs. Raymond Smith 1972-1974, during her term the Woman's City Club hosted the 64th Annual Convention of the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs. Major repairs still being made.

 President, Mrs. Michael Whelahan 1974-1978, held two terms and was also President of the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs. The Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs was entertained at Hewitt Union with Rosemary Nesbitt as the speaker. Revisions were made to the constitution. Mrs. Whelahan passed away while in office.

 President, Mrs. Paul Hutko 1978-1982 was a busy teacher and also held two terms. The rent was raised on the upstairs apartment. Members worked on the antiques and collectibles at the Hospital Bazaar. Two High School students were awarded scholarships from the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs. The Club House dinningroom was wallpapered.

 President, Florence Mahany, 1982-1984, again we hosted the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs Convention. It was held at the Masonic Temple in Oswego. The Club took part in the annual Fourth of July Parade. The Bridge Marathon was a great success, the Marathon supports the scholarship fund. Supper meeting times were changed from 6:30 PM to 6:00 PM.

 President, Nellie Feistal 1984-1994, held the position of President of our Club for the longest ever, 5 terms. She initiated a full and complete inventory to be taken of the Club House. And a new system set up for the Treasurer. A new sign was put on the building. Other renovations done were a new hot water heater, repaired cornice, porches, railings, cellar door repaired and painted, kitchen painted, refrigerator replaced, front porch carpeted. Purchased 5 new tables and 16 chairs. New constitution printed and yearly programs printed. Club House Room was rented for showers, and apartment rent raised. Bridge Marathon continues. Contributions made to Heart Line, Jaycees Fourth of July Parade fund, Office of the Aging Anniversary Party, Art Guild and Human Concerns. Also a new set of dishes were purchased on April 23, 1986 from the local D.A.R. Many more programs and projects were undertaken over her ten years of service. The club membership at the time she took office was at 68 members.

 The Presidents from 1994-2004 are:

Mrs. Becky Dodge 1994-1996
Mrs. Anne Zink 1996-2000
Mrs. Jeanne Kavanaugh 2000-2004
Ms. Cora Finn 2004-2006
     To this day the Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc., remains in the same building, 143 West Third Street in Oswego, New York as it did beginning in November 18,1927. Our membership is now 20 active members and 5 honorary members. Although at some point in time the lawn to the south was sold and presently houses Dr. Kim's office and parking lot. The clubhouse still contains the original 3 marble fireplaces, and many of same dishes and silverware purchased in the beginning. The piano that was purchased in 1927 is still in the Club House. The upper floor houses an apartment and the lower floor is maintained as the Club's meeting and dinner hall with a full kitchen. Meetings are held on the third Tuesday each month, much the same as they began in 1927, with a Salute to the Flag, a collective reading of the Club Collect, a guest speaker and a dinner, with the business part of the meeting held after dinner.  Business meetings are run under Roberts Rules of Order. The Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc. still offers a yearly scholarship to an Oswego High School Senior


     Today our club has a website: , you can surf our site to see what we are all about. 

Respectfully submitted and complied from previous written histories, minutes of meetings, and records of the Woman's City Club of Oswego NY, Inc.  By Mary Carol Magistro, Treasurer and Member of the Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc. on May 4, 2004.
 


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