History of the Oregon City Woman's Club

April 1, 1903: The club is established as the Woman's Lewis and Clark Club to support the work of women involved in planning the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland. Several members also joined the Sacajawea Statue Association, established by club member Eva Emery Dye and the Portland Woman's Club. The organization raised $7,000 to commission and erect a bronze statue of Sacajawea on the Exposition grounds. The statue, designed by Denver sculptress, Alice Cooper, now stands in Washington Park.


November 1903: Club members begin an effort to obtain ownership of the old Phoenix Hotel, the house built in 1845 by Dr. John McLoughlin. 

September 27, 1904: Club members meet to revise their constitution and bylaws. They also vote to change the club's name to Woman's Club of Oregon City. Members agree to hold future meetings at the homes of members on the first and third Fridays of the month. 

1906: The Oregon City Woman's Club affiliates with the Oregon Federation of Woman's Clubs and the General Federation of Woman's Clubs.

May 1906: At the request of the Mayor, the Oregon City Woman's Club forms an auxiliary to raise funds to assist "the California sufferers" following the San Francisco earthquake. 

June 27, 1906: At a business meeting during the annual picnic, members adopt Carnation Red as the club color and the Oregon Grape as the club flower.

October 10, 1906: At a regular meeting, Miss Cornelia Marvin, secretary of the Oregon Library Association, addresses the club on the need for libraries. Members form a public library committee and soon establish a user supported reading room on the third floor of the Masonic Temple. Several of the members and their mothers, who had been involved in two attempts to maintain reading rooms in Oregon City in the 1870s and 1890s, began to lobby the City Council to provide funding for a library.  

1909: After several years of efforts to preserve the McLoughlin house, it is finally moved to the public square at the top of Singer Hill.  Preservation of the house is made possible through the efforts of the Oregon City Woman's Club, the McLoughlin Memorial Association  and other local organizations. After the house is moved the Woman's Club forms a Civic Improvement Committee to improve and maintain the grounds around the house. The club undertook new projects in 1978 and 1994 to restore the grounds around the house, now part of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and maintained by the National Park Service.

December 1910: Club members join with other organizations in the city to sell Christmas Seals to raise funds for the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis and the Red Cross Society. Participation in the annual sale continues for several decades. 

June 13, 1913: The Oregon City Public Library celebrates the grand opening of its first permanent home in the Carnegie building. Oregon City Woman's Club members continue their support of the library through donations of books and art as well as serving on the Library Board and volunteering their time to maintain the public library. 

January 20, 1920: As part of their mission to improve public health, club members help form the first county health department. In 1967 the club receives an appreciation award from the Tuberculosis Association in recognition of their leadership in improving public health. 

April 1968: The Enterprise-Courier prints a history  of the club, as the Oregon City Woman's Club celebrates 65 years of service to the community. In addition to chronicling the hours of volunteer service, financial donations to community organizations, public involvement and civic improvement activities, the reporter writes:  "The history of Woman's Club is the history of Oregon City and the area."

from the early meetings

 December 1904, members met at Mary M. Charman's home on Main Street and enjoyed a review of Life of Empress Josephine presented by Mrs. Hiram Straight and Mrs. Linn Jones.  

March 1906, members passed a resolution protesting the destruction of Oregon Grape for commercial purposes. The club would later adopt the Oregon Grape as their official plant

October 1906, the agenda included an address by Cornelia Marvin "A Public Library for Oregon City", as well as music by Miss Irene Reynolds. 

June 1907, the club hosted the annual Pioneer Recognition at Willamette Hall. 48 guests shared memories of their arrival in the Oregon Territory in the 1840s and 1850s.

April 1908, the Oregon City Enterprise adds a regular column edited by the Oregon City Woman's Club. "The object of the club in this is to tell something of what club women all over our land are accomplishing for the betterment of their fellows, what our State Federation and local clubs are doing, and to present question of public interest from the woman's standpoint and call attention from time to time to some of our local needs."

January 1910, members contribute  $20 to the Scholarship Loan Association of the state federation. They report that twelve young women had been able to complete their education with help from the fund and had been able to repay their loans.

(photo at top of page -  1953 - 50th Anniversary of the Oregon City Woman's Club)