Verdugo Views: Early days of La Crescenta Woman's Club

In the early 1900s, when the Crescenta Valley was sparsely populated and social events were scarce, women often gathered in homes, bringing along sewing to do as they visited.

One afternoon in the spring of 1911 a group of women met to form an organization. Their intent was twofold: to improve the community, and, even more important, to have a social outlet. This gathering was the beginning of the La Crescenta Woman’s Club, which is just concluding a year of centennial celebrations.

At first, the women named themselves the Crescenta Club. They met every other Thursday in the homes of members, discussed books and current events and chose philanthropic projects. They also drew up by-laws and assessed themselves dues of 25 cents each month. The first president was Mrs. Joseph Hawkins, as noted in a 1953 Ledger article.

Some of the early meetings were held in the auditorium of the local school, according to Ellie Pipes, a 47-year member who has compiled a notebook filled with newspaper articles about the club.

Their first project was to improve the school, the only one in the area, so they organized a 4th of July event that brought in $5.75. At the next meeting, according to a club record compiled by member Margaret Dixon, they voted to change their dues from 25 cents per month to 25 cents per quarter.

Members soon began discussing the idea of purchasing a lot and building their own clubhouse. With this in mind, they changed their dues back to 25 cents per month.

Then a land-improvement company donated a plot of land, so they turned their fundraising focus to building a clubhouse. When they incorporated in 1924, they changed their name to La Crescenta Woman’s Club.

Members have always shown an avid interest in current affairs and in providing a helping hand when needed. In their earlier years, they devoted their time to relief work, sending clothes to the needy in Europe, sewing dresses for an orphanage in France, supporting the local Red Cross and sending books and other items to the Armed Forces.

“Friendship, fellowship and philanthropy are still the aims of the club. Members still support good causes, from Prom Plus to cancer research, from HOBY leadership training at Verdugo Hills High to scholarships at Glendale Community College and Crescenta Valley High,” said long-time member Danette Erickson.

The club also supports the Scouts, Salvation Army, Ahead with Horses, Glendale Association for the Retarded, Glendale Cops for Kids and the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Christmas Toy and Food Drive, plus the Montrose Search and Rescue and many other groups.

“Whenever one of us hears of a good cause, we all support that cause as best we can. We recycle everything from wine bottles to Christmas cards, postage stamps, coupons and art supplies,” Erickson added.

“Our philanthropies are supported by renting out our clubhouse and our fundraisers. Please come to one of our events and see our newly renovated clubhouse,” she said.


To the readers:

This fall marks the 100th year since Virginia and Harry Robinson moved into their new home in Beverly Hills.

Virginia Dryden Robinson was the daughter of Nathaniel Dryden, the architect who designed Brand Castle for his brother-in-law, L.C. Brand. She often visited the Brands here in Glendale. Dryden also designed his daughter’s home.

The Robinsons left their house and gardens to Los Angeles County and the Virginia Robinson Gardens are open for tours by appointment. Call (310) 550-2087 to make a reservation.

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