The Woman's Club of Temple City was organized December 4,1925 in the home of Mrs. Samuel Lester. There were seven charter members, Mrs. W.J. Husong, Mrs. Ray Cromley, Mrs. Samuel Lester, Mrs. Harry Lester, Mrs. Raymond Swartz, and Mrs. Charles Tandy. Their objective was to promote cultural and philanthropic work among its members and to develop interest in civic, social and educational areas of the community.
Mrs. Tandy the first president had to move away before her term was completed. Mrs. McNab finished the term and was elected for the following year. Walter Temple, Sr., founder of Temple City needed help in attracting residence to his new area. Under these two presidents we now enjoy today their efforts in helping Mr. Temple to have the red car continue its run from Alhambra to Temple City which brought rural mail delivery from Los Angeles to Temple City. They also canvassed for telephone service; assisted on committees working on building a new school; sponsored a Girl Scout troop, and collaborated with all organizations in Temple City. Between 1926 and 1929 the group grew in number. They talked about having a club house of their own. They started a building fund by having bake sales, silver teas and parties. It was during this time that they began decorating the community Christmas tree, under the direction of Mrs. Husong and Mrs. Dunlap. This was continued for many years until the city merchants took this annual event over.
In 1929 the club became a member of the General Federation of Women's Clubs which was founded in 1890 by Jennie June Croly. This is the largest and oldest nondenominational, nonpartisan, international volunteer service organization of women in the world. It has a membership of ten million in forty-five countries. The General Federation was chartered in 1901 and the headquarters are located in Washington, D.C.. The archives contain hundreds of linear feet of records dating from 1890 to the present with special collections devoted to women's history with an emphasis on women in volunteerism.
In 1931 they purchased a lot on the corner of Kauffman and Woodruff under Mrs. F. M. Van Houten's presidency. The club membership was divided into eight groups, one for each month of the club year, each serving a luncheon and having one fund project. This plan was in effect for several years and enabled the club to purchase this lot. Money was not plentiful in those years but the club enjoyed a profitable year and was able to pay the remaining amount due on their lot.
During 1932 - 33 there were many activities from the club departments which helped increase the building fund. There was also volunteer work to be accomplished, The club helped in relief work in the earthquake at Long Beach and Compton areas. They held the first garden show and gained a reputation for their beautiful flower shows which brought flower lovers from all over Los Angeles County.
The years 1933 through 1939 the club sponsored the 4 H Club girls and volunteered in the community where needed. Their desire for a Clubhouse came to pass in April 1941. Many local residents and business firms contributed generously to help finance the construction. The building was designed to house the Los Angeles County Library. The first event held in the new clubhouse was the 8th annual flower show. The members joined in welcoming new residents in the community during this time.
By the end of 1940 money raised and loans were secured to start construction on the clubhouse. The contract was signed with the Stratton Construction Co. and construction began in early 1941. The clubhouse was designed to house the county library in the lounge area of the building and remained there until the present library in Temple City Park was built. World War II declared the bright new clubhouse was donated for Red Cross work; a blood bank and canteen. Our members helped make comfort and first aid kits for soldiers as they embarked for service. Tables and chairs from the clubhouse were loaned to the surgical dressing rooms at various local places. Times were tough during the war years but the club members joined the Chamber of Commerce in sponsoring a lecture course. They also paid the sponsor's fees for the Campfire groups. An Art, Drama and Music Section was organized during this time. They furnished a sun room in the name of the club to the Army Air Forces in regional Hospital at Santa Ana.
The first "Camellia Day" took place in 1944. President, Mrs. Daniel Crowley was founder of this day and another member, Mrs. Sanders, won the contest to name Temple City The Home of Camellias." In 1945 a Junior's Club was formed to help in community life by sponsoring the Indoor Sports Club of San Gabriel Valley. In 1948 the clubhouse was paid in full, a celebration was held and burning of the mortgage took place.
During the following years the club sponsored a garden at Sawtell Veteran's hospital, donated to the Jr. High School for new band uniforms; to Sight Seeing Class at Longden School; sponsored adult classes in millinery and lampshade making, made 25 skirts and blouses and donated them to the Pacific State Hospital. During the 1950's the Club shared with many other groups in the San Gabriel Valley in contributing to the new and much needed Arcadia Methodist Hospital. Room number 406 now has our nameplate on its door signifying our contribution in furnishing it with comfort for its patients. We made lap robes for patients at the Santa Anita Sanitarium, El Calvario Settlement House in El Monte, and to the City of Hope in Azusa. The Club accomplished its usual joint work in community projects; the Temple City Welfare Committee, The Camellia Festival, Community Chest, Red Cross, Crusade to Conquer Cancer, the Cerebral Palsy Drive and many others. In the late 50's the club women helped to organize a Senior Citizens Club for Temple City and provided free of charge place for their meetings. They now meet at Live Oak Park.
Since philanthropy projects are the most important focus of the club responsibilities the members are continually volunteering and providing their services to the community. Funds are raised annually to contribute to student scholarships, abused women & children, People for People, Sheriffs Ministry, Library Guild and The Historical Society. Members volunteer their time and services to The City of Hope, Meals on wheels, Los Angeles County Arboretum, Friends of the Library, Chamber of Commerce, Hospital auxiliaries, Veterans Hospitals and Hear Foundation. Their district projects are musical scholarships, Veterans' affairs, art scholarships, medical scholarship and Statue of Liberty Fund. The Woman's Club donated the blue markers in the streets so the firemen can quickly locate the fire hydrants.
The Historical Society of Temple City was the idea of Woman's Club member and Historian, Florine Thompson. Parliamentarian Shirley Norman and Temple City Times reporter, Julie Estrada, both club members, helped Florine to realize her dream and thanks to the city a historical museum was housed in the old media center at Live Oak Park. Many Woman's Club members also belong to the Historical Society and have served on the board. Under President, Irene Burza, who has the distinction of serving as President of The Woman's Club nine terms more than any other president, the clubhouse and property were offered to The Historical Society as a permanent home for the society and museum. The Woman's Club gift deeded the clubhouse and property to The Historical Society in June 2006. The Historical Society is to preserve the property and to educate the community on the many contributions made by the Woman's Club to the growth and the festivities of the city. The Woman's Club continues their activities at the clubhouse and many are active in the work of the Historical Society.
Many organizations have used the clubhouse. Several churches used the clubhouse for their services. The Camellia Society held shows for 20 years before larger facilities became available at the Arboretum. Dance groups met in the hall as the wood floor was ideal for dancing. The clubhouse has also appeared in movies and television programs.
This was certainly not just a social club but a service club with hard working, productive members and a vital part of the community.