Club History

History of the Garner Woman’s Club

The Garner Woman’s Club, which is the oldest civic club in Garner, was organized on April 21, 1928 in the home of Mrs. H.C. Rand and became federated with the North Carolina Federation of Woman’s Clubs. Mrs. P.K. Banks served as the first club President.

The first clubhouse was not purchased until 1944. From 1928-1944 meetings were held in members’ homes and various location in Garner. The original Club building was used for meetings, but also served as a community center and town library.

In 1957 (tax records say 1954) a new, and still utilized, clubhouse was built on Highway 70. After baking and selling many biscuits, Club members succeeded in “burning the mortgage” in May 1964!

The Club has had many long-range projects which include the provision of library services, community beautification, maintenance of a medical loan chest, providing scholarships for outstanding students, sponsoring Girl Scout Troops, catering services for the Garner Lions Club and participation in district, state and national level GFWC projects.

1928 – the Club originates a free library service. The Garner Public Library occupied the building beside the Town Hall from 1973-1988. The Meeting Room there was named in recognition of the first Woman’s Club president, Portia Banks, for her contribution and knowledge in providing a public library. The library was moved to its current location on 7th Ave in 1988 and was renamed the Southeast Regional Library.

1963 – the Club votes to award an annual savings bond to a senior girl at Garner High School. The girl would have proven outstanding academic achievement, good citizenship and met the attributes aspired to in the “Clubwoman Collect”. The award is now known as the Sallie Southall Cotten Scholarship and can be competed for on District and State levels. The local scholarship has been increased over the years until 1982 it reached $200. In 1999, the Club awarded eight scholarships for a total of $5,000. The first place recipient also received a State level scholarship.

1968 – Rae B. Furtado nominated to represent our club in the N.C. State Mother’s Association, which was formed to develop and strengthen the moral and spiritual foundations of the American home. Mrs. Furtado became the Club’s first Merit Mother.

1970 – Elizabeth Rand, nominated by our club, became Mother of the Year. Other members we were Merit Mothers were: Robin Baucom –1977, Priscilla Jones – 1980, Jeanette Adams – 1984, and Emma Somerville – 1985.

1974 – in conjunction with the Garner Junior Woman’s Club, sponsored the first local annual Arts Festival, which is now an annual event. Proposed to promote visual, creative and performing arts among youth and in the community. The Arts Festival is divided into specific categories: Arts, Photography, Crafts, Literature, Sewing, Music, Drama and Public Speaking. The local winners can advance to District and State Competitions. Occasionally the GFWC has a category for student level entries to be shown at the National Convention. The Garner Woman’s Club has sponsored several District, State and National winners.

A “Great Decision” discussion group was formed in 1974 as a division of the International Affairs Department. The program was opened to anyone interested in increasing their awareness of current issues. The decision groups proved very valuable for the exchange of viewpoints among a variety of people of all ages and walks of life.

1978 – the Club celebrated its 50th anniversary.

1981 – A statewide project was sponsored by Governor James Hunt to recognize outstanding volunteer work. Four Club members were recognized for their work: Essie Perry for volunteer teaching in elementary schools; Betha Weston for her free counseling service; Dolly Bryan for securing art displays for the Garner Public Library; and Rae Furtado for volunteer work in the humanities.

1983 – Rebecca Penny received an Honorary Life Membership at the State Convention in the NC Federation of Woman’s Clubs. The three-time club president was surprised and proud of this honor.

1984 – the Club pledges it’s involvement in The Children’s Home Society Stork Brigade and the programs at the NC Central Correctional Center for Women with The Chrysalis Woman’s Club.

1986 – The first of many deserving Garner High School seniors are provided the opportunity to attend the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Conference.

1987 – Ella Hall and Elizabeth Rand received Honorary Life Memberships in the NC Federation of Woman’s Clubs at the state convention.

1992 – the “Christmas Tour of Homes” begins as a means to raise funds for the scholarship awards as well as to increase community appreciation.

2003 – the Club celebrated its 75th anniversary with a dinner attended by club members and their spouses, local elected officials, news media and our State President. The Club pledges our commitment to provide funds in support of the Garner Historic Depot and Museum initiative.

2006 – the Club incorporates with the Secretary of State as a step towards becoming a 501(c)(3) organization.

2007 – on March 12, 2007 the Club officially is a 501(c)(3) organization.

2010 – Shekinah Glory Community Worship Center, a new church start up, rents the clubhouse every week for services until they can buy or build their own building. A local AA group also continues to rent the facility for their weekly meeting.

2012 – Shekinah Glory Community Worship Center moves and Kingdom Impact International Center church rents the clubhouse every week including Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

2013 – Club celebrates its 85th anniversary. The Club sponsored the first National awards for student art with photography entries by three Garner High School students.  The Club kicks of BINGO as a monthly fundraising event to raise money for club improvements which include a new roof and making the clubhouse handicapped accessible.

2017– The club celebrates its 25th anniversary of the “Christmas Tour of Homes” event. 

2018– The club celebrates its 90th year as a service club since its original founding on April 21, 1928.