HISTORY OF THE ARLINGTON WOMAN'S CLUB

                                                                         THE FIRST EIGHTY YEARS

 

On April 5th,1921,  a new club was born with one purpose in mind: sponsor a library to serve the Arlington community. For two previous years, Mrs. R.E. Colcord had been lending books to those in the area and had succeeded in getting a shelf in Mr. Booth's cold drink stand, located on Arlington Road, where books could be checked in and out. 

As we understand it, Mrs. Colcord invited a number of ladies to her home for a card game. Fourteen attended and it was then that she explained to them her plan to set up and organize a club. A committee was named to draw up the Charter, Constitution and By-laws. Weekly meetings were held thereafter and elections of officers were held with 24 charter members. Mrs. Colcord became the first president Several names were suggested for the new club, and it was decided that it should be the "Eastern Shore Woman's Club". It was not until 1952 that the name was changed to "Arlington Woman's Club".

A committee was named to look for a building site, but in the meantime, a one-room house on Palmetto Street was leased for $80.00 per year. The street was sandy so the ladies volunteered their husbands' time to haul and place pine straw to make it more accessible.

The first meeting held in the club room was on May 3rd, 1921 and the first project was moving the books into the building. On June 20, 1921 the club gave a House Warming Tea.

Plans were made in August 1921 to borrow money to buy a lot and build a clubhouse. In March 1922 the lot was purchased from Mr. & Mrs. W. T. Burke for $400.00. Captain Lilly gave the money to purchase the lot and also $100.00 to buy books for the library. Miss Helen Breck, his sister, donated $100.00 toward the building cost and the clubhouse, or rather clubroom as it was only one room, 24' by 36’. The celebration and dedication took place on October 22, 1922 with Mrs. W. S. Jennings. First Vice-President of the Florida Federation of Woman's Clubs presiding.  The club continued to grow and it became apparent that larger quarters were needed. It was during 1935-1936 that an auditorium and kitchen were planned and built, leaving the original structure exclusively for the library. Money was borrowed, $1500.00 from the Florida National Bank, and each member pledged $12.00 toward the building fund. The new addition cost $1895.00. On November 19, 1936 the new addition was ready and opened with a reception in celebration. It was 1940 when the mortgage was paid in full. By this time it was decided that the library was in need of renovating, but it was not until 1948 that this was accomplished. In 1949 we saw the organization of the Arlington Junior Woman's Club


 The club was bursting at the seams trying to house the more than 10,000 books and serving the increased membership due to the fast development of the community.   In 1974 the Arlington Community Club, established in 1919, officially terminated its status and turned over property at 5714 Arlington Road to a holding corporation formed by the Arlington Woman's Club. Through the years the two clubs had worked very closely on civic affairs and had used the facility for the free dental clinic and the well baby clinic. The president of the holding corporation, Hazel Satterfield, promised to extend Arlington Woman's Club activities to retired and church groups. Plans were made to sell the old clubhouse and enlarge the new facilities as soon as possible. In April 1976, the bicentennial year, a ribbon cutting ceremony was shared by the president of the Arlington Junior Woman's Club, the Arlington Woman's Club, the Arlington Woman's Club Holding Corporation, and Arlington Junior Woman's Club Holding Corporation; Janice Combs, Isabel Hartsock, and Hazel Satterfield. The majority of the members attended dressed in the theme colors of red, white and blue bicentennial dresses mostly sewn by them. This was the only woman's club built in the bicentennial year and because of this received special publicity from the Jacksonville Bicentennial Commission.

In 2000 it was necessary to update an antiquated air-conditioning system as well as make needed repairs. With several "Flea-Market Sales" and "After Church Dinners" the club was able to fulfill it's obligations as well as make some additional improvements. In September a member of the "Old Arlington Preservation Society" presented the club with a plaque for the beautification of the club property.


                                                                           YEARS 2000 TO 2010


The Arlington Woman's Club reached a milestone in 2001 by celebrating its 80th anniversary.  It's members continued to support local causes.  Scholarships for two girls, Hacienda Girls Ranch, Arlington Elementary School, Adopt a mile project and other community projects. Mayor Delaney recognized Frances Padgett for her work on the Seniors Citizens Council for Elder Affairs, while Althea Fowler was honored with "Volunteer of the Year" for her story telling time at Arlington Elementary School.

The years 2002 and 2003 found the club members working very hard to help improve the image of the Arlington Community. The club became involved with Old Arlington Incorporated, a group of citizens in the area who are very interested in preserving the history of the area, and making the area a place where people will want to visit and make it their home. 

In October 2003 the club held a new type fundraiser entitled "Celebrating Life Luncheon". The Donna Hicken Foundation was chosen as the receipient.  Donna Hicken, a Channel '12 news anchor, who has dealt with breast cancer twice, formed this foundation. The foundation helps women who are dealing with breast cancer and having financial problems. The club sponsored a luncheon, complete with tables honoring breast cancer survivors and had an auction of a large basket of donated items worth over $400.00 The club presented Ms. Hicken over $2000.00 for her foundation.  we received a 2nd place award from the GFWC Florida Federation for our work with the Donna Hicken Foundation.

 

The club has continues to support our Scholarship Fund, Hacienda Girls Ranch, Boggy Creek, Special Olympics, HOBY, Canine Companions, Angelwood, PACE, The Boy's Home, Dreams Come True, Arlington Elementary School, Operation Smile, Sew Much Comfort, and Southeast Guide Dogs. The money comes from our  monthly bridge luncheons,  Sunday dinners,  garage sale, fashion show, Marathon bridge, fish fry and a spaghetti dinner.

The clubhouse continues to be an important asset to our community. It is a meeting place for groups, wedding receptions, birthday parties as well as our own functions. Numerous articles have been written about the Arlington Woman's Club and their wonderful asset to the Arlington Community.


The years of 2003-2005 were very busy as we helped prepare for the GFWC National Convention in Orlando. The club members helped to make egg carton decorations and the Arlington Woman's Club prepared 150 jars of strawberry jam to be used as table favors. In addition we hosted the annual District 4 Tour of Officers.

The club members took on several new projects.  An Art Festival was a joint project with the local elementary school. The children's art was displayed at the school along with the arts and crafts from local artists. The club members also adopted the entrance to the local nature preserve, Tree Hill. The area was cleared, ground prepared, plants purchased and planted. It continues to be cared for by the members. The members also participated in Tree Hill's annual Butterfly Festival. Baked goods and bird feeders were sold, and the profits from the baked goods were turned over to the nature preserve. 

 

Education is one of the top priorities for the club. We sponsor 2 or 3 recipients each year  with a scholarship. "Isabel Hartsock Scholarship Fund".  This year we were pleased to have one of our recipients continue on and get her doctorate degree. The Scholarship Committee was invited to her graduation celebration and received recognition for all the support that she received from the club.

We have been honored with several District Awards and State Awards. One of the state awards was a first place award for the President's Project. First place for Scrapbook and presidents Choice. Two more members were volunteer of the year in District 4, 2007 and 2008. Four of our members served on the District level and one served as District Director for two years. 


                                                   YEARS 2011 TO PRESENT

 

Club Motto "Unity in Diversity". In 2010 we welcomed our first of many African American's into the club.  

Our club and members continues to support local, state and international organizations for the benefit of those less fortunate than us. We raffled off a $500 gas card and raised over $2,000 to donate to Heifer. We continued to support our local groups such as PACE, The Emergency Pregnancy Services, Tree Hill and Old Arlington, Inc. We also collaborated with a local church and filled shoe boxes for "Operation Christmas Child." We donated 1400 t-shirts to the same church and these were sent to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. We continued with our Christmas Party for the ARC, a day care facility for mentally challenged adults, and our "Art in Arlington" program at one of the local elementary schools. The members participated in the art project and sent eighty watches to the American Mural Project. The Isabel Hartsock Scholarship Fund and the city's Adopt A Road' Project. A Historial Marker was placed on our property by Old Arlington Inc.

 

We have been excited to win more District and State Awards and one of our members photo took top honors in the national competition.  Four of our members continue to serve on the District level.  We celebrated our 90th anniversary in April 2011. 

 

Moving the club into the computer age has been a struggle however as we evolve so has our website. It has brought us new members, recoginition and rentals to help support our efforts.

We adopted Justina Elementary School and shortly thereafter, two of our members were asked to sit on the Advisory Council and one member is secretary for the Advisory Council. We became more active with PACE, organizing two Field Trips, handing out the brochures, arranging a speaking engagement and holding a "shower" for the student setting up her apartment. We were able to meet our assessed scholarship commitment to the President's Project and supported many fundraising activities for the state project, Education and Scholarship. We initiated a 100 book children's book collection to donate to the Arlington Community Services. We exceeded our goal and donated 145 books. We supported one of our members who sponsored "Relay for Life" for the American Cancer Society.


Our members continue to serve in Leadership roles at both District and State Levels. At State our members served on Ways and Means, and Marketplace. At the District level they served as District Webmaster, Scrapbook Chairman and Photographer, and Fundraising Chairman and Co-Chairman. One member was on the State Elections Committee. Two members held the popular Silent Auction at each District Meeting.

 

We began 2014 with a program we started in 2001, Fourth Grade Foresters. The General Federation was supporting the program, and we became part of it.  We ordered 40 trees in the fall and took them to our adopted school, Justina Elementary School in the early Spring.  

 

Our local Television station started a project called "The Apple Project" . They were raising money to build a free dental clinic in Jacksonville.  Since we also had a free dental clinic years agin in the Arlington area we felt we needed to support this project. One of our members wrote up the history of our dental clinic and sent it in to the station with a donation from our club., We received a wonderful response from the reporter who was sponsoring the project. 

 

The Federation had a project regarding libraries that had been created in the state. Our club also had a library in the area many years ago, and a hisotry about that was created by of our members, and we received a certificate for our project.

 

We lost one of very dedicated members in 2014. She was very active in the Arlington and Jacksonville Community. The Senior Citizens Center in our area was named for her, Frances Padgett.  A large number of members from the club attended her celebration along with many members of the City Council and the Mayor. 

 

To support "Heifer Internation " we bought 3 bee hives, then a goat, and with  a fundraiser called Fill The Boot we raised enough

money to buy that cow. Fill the boot was such a success that we were able to give Hacienda Girls $500.00 toward their new fence. We gave $500 to Wounded Warriors and $500. to K-9 Companions. We invited Canine Companions for Independence to do a program for us and they did, complete with a puppy.  

 

We did a lot of things for the USO. Our members took 317 desserts to serve at one of the USO dinners for our servicemen. We also gave them 1000 books from a members's personal libray, and we sent them toiletries for the ladies and handmade  woolen Chrochet caps for the combat soldiers to wear under their helmets. We turned brown paper grocery bags full of baby things for the Emergency Pregnancy Center. We filled 25 plastic boxes with much neeeded items for Hubbard House, a safe place for battered women. We asked for donations and we got enough for 25 more. We donated 72 stuffed bears to Buddy Check 12 for breast Cancer patients. 

 

We took part in Arlington A Glow, the first ever lighting up of Arlington Road, with merchants and private facilities all lighting up the roadway, and a outdoor festival at Norman Studios. We had a booth there of our course, turned it into a fundraiser and a recruitment opportunity.

 

Fundraisers have always been important and we created  a couple of new ones to raise money. Two Fashion Shows and a Vendor Fair raised around $5000.00 in support of our club.

 

As we plan for the New Year we are looking for new ways to help improve our neighborhood and work with other groups in the area. 


We look forward to many more productive years in the Arlington area.

Club Organized April 5th, 1920

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Club Organized April 5th, 1920