The Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club was founded on December 11, 1905 by Elmira T. Stephens.It had 88 members and its purpose was to enable women to meet and discuss world affairs, promote cultural activities and address worthy causes in the community. One of the club’s founding members was Mrs. John P. Jones, wife of the City of Santa Monica co-founder Senator J. P. Jones.Designed by local architect Henry Hollwedel, the club’s headquarters at 1210 Fourth Street. The purchase of the site was made possible by a donation from Senora Arcadia Bandini de Baker, wife of the city’s other co-founder Col. Robert de Baker.An excellent example of the classical revival style, the clubhouse was inaugurated on October 5, 1914. While it was being constructed, the club’s members held a series of fundraisers so that the building was completely furnished when it opened. The original mortgage was paid off in June 1922. On April 8, 1991, the club building was designated as a Santa Monica City Landmark. Through the years, club members have played prominent roles in community life, such as leading Red Cross classes, feeding the needy during the Great Depression, entertaining the service people in both world wars, organizing a Well Baby Clinic and the Needlework Guild, setting up scholarship funds, and aiding veterans. The club also offered a variety of programs, such as continuing education, legislation, citizenship and conservation study courses, and lectures on history, Indian affairs, health and mental health, as well as musical performances, art and creative writing. Today, the membership continues to give scholarships to Santa Monica High School seniors, and to raise money for a number of charities.The Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club has been a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs since 1910, the California Federation of Women’s Clubs since 1923m and the Marina District #18, which was organized in 1956. The club’s original membership of 88 ladies rose to almost 700 in the 1950s but then began to decline, as more and more women joined the workforce. An energetic membership drive in the fall attracted almost two dozen new members who want to provide community service through “fun and fellowship.” Monday afternoons are devoted to raising money for scholarships by playing social bridge, canasta and other games. Lessons for bridge, canasta, knitting and tatting are offered and a book group now meets in the club lounge. The club currently holds two annual parking lot sales and several fundraiser luncheons. A Centennial birthday party will he held on January 29, followed by other major centennial events during the year.
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