Sunday, November 23, 2014
   
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Gothenburg Woman’s Club disbands

Culture-cultivating organization almost a century old.

Changing times are to blame for the death of a long-time organization in Gothenburg.

According to a couple of former members of the Gothenburg Woman’s Club, the organization was forced to fold because of sagging membership.

Once 100 members strong, the club’s membership had dwindled to 17 dues-paying members when it disbanded in September.

“Communication is so easy now,” said 10-year member and retired teacher Elsie Cyriacks about cell phones, electronic mail and other technology, and distractions that seem to have replaced monthly club meetings.

Trudy Greene, the oldest member of the organization, said people don’t visit face-to-face with each other like in the past.

“We don’t take the time,” she said.

Greene joined the Gothenburg Women’s Club in 1948.

According to the Gothenburg Area History book, the club was formed from several organizations for women including the Alpha Club, in 1898, which was organized for reading and discussing books.

“The club had a restricted membership because meetings were held in homes, and annually, the club entertained their husbands at dinner,” the book says. “This was a special social event for the whole family. Daughters acted as waitresses and sons collected card tables, set them up and carried food back and forth.”

Other clubs formed, when newcomers came to town, and included the SS Club, Outlook Club and Mother’s Club. They eventually merged with the Alpha Club to form the Gothenburg Woman’s Club.

The organization was nationally federated in 1922.

“It was a way of communicating and being social,” Greene said, remembering how members brought their children who would sit and listen. “You met ladies from different churches and from varied backgrounds. There were younger and older women.”

Greene also recalls selecting an area of interest when she joined, in drama, music, art, travel, literature or civics.

She chose music where members developed musical programs they presented at events, like the town’s centennial celebration, and listened to other musical presentations.

The different groups met weekly and came together as a group on the second Wednesday of each month, Greene said.

Club members also created and sold a calendar that included dates when organizations met and other information.

The organization also raised money for projects that bettered the community and state and received an honorary Pony Express Rider award in 1993 for improving the community.

Cyriacks said it was sad to see the club disband.

“It’s the end of an era,” she said.

But a bright side is the club’s last gift to Gothenburg, in the form of money members donated to the Gothenburg Community Playhouse to help buy a digital projector, to the Gothenburg Historical Museum, to the Goth

enburg Library Foundation and to the Gothenburg Senior Center.

Besides Greene and Cyriacks, 2010-2011 members of the club included Anne Anderson, Dixie Ackerman, Deb Bacon, Carol Bartels, Joan Brand, Valetta Delahunty, Charlene Devine, Elaine Finke, Judy Haver, Penny Holm, Faye Kniss, Lona Ristine, Cathy Stull, Dolores Viergutz, Betty Volkman.

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