Press "Enter" to skip to content

What Does The AV Unity Club Do?

Abbreviated Overview of Historical and Current Projects

1920’s - Promoted the extension of the highway from Navarro to the mouth of the river.

1930’s - Sponsored Well-Baby Clinics

1934 – Began assisting students studying for citizenship tests.

1940’s - sponsored the Dept of Ag, lunch program at the schools

1945 - Caretakers for Indian Creek State Park (in return for using the club house there for a lending library)

1953 - Established the Anderson Valley Lending Library

1960 – Began sponsoring the annual Wildflower Show held in June Hall at the fairgrounds.

1960’s - Sponsored the Philo Boy Scout Troop (the only troop in Area A sponsored by a women’s organization)

1963 – Achieved dedication of Hendy Woods as a State Park, July 7.

1983 – Dedicated the “Gentle Giants All-Access Trail” in Hendy Woods State Park, a multi-year project.

2002 – Provided information regarding Lyme disease to the community and arranged for speakers.

2002 – Spearheaded the move to use “Drug Free Zone” signs around the Anderson Valley High School and Elementary School.

2003 - Unity Club Cook Book “Rosemary and Wildflowers” summer fundraiser

2005 – Sent Care Packages to Army troops serving in Iraq.

2006 - Introduction of baked goods as fundraiser at Bazaar

2008 - Partnered with Community Action Coalition to get second deputy to help with drug problems. Craig Walker hired.

2009 - Campaigned to keep second deputy through budget cuts

2010 - Sheriff Allman asked for help funding a deputy dog. Spearheaded the Deputy Dog Project, a K9 partner for our resident Deputy Sheriff.

2011- First of three dogs purchased

2012 - Fought again to keep resident deputy- successful

2014 - Panther Pal Project; Unity Members pair up with AV teachers (new & veteran) to give support and encouragement. The Dark & Stormy Night Project: houses commuting teachers overnight in bad weather.

2017 - Panther Pals continues as a request line for supplies for classrooms

2023 - Series of 100 year anniversary events and celebrations

Many smaller projects were undertaken over those 100 years that are too numerous to list. Suffice to say the Unity Club has been actively promoting a better community for a very long time with a high degree of success.

Through Beverly Dutra I came across a resume of club history that I  thought would be worth publishing. The style of the piece and the names mentioned really give a feel for the lifeblood of the club:

Written in 1966 by a person who was summarizing information from reports by Zola Willis, Blanche Brown and Alpha Adams – club historians.

“This report is very brief - see the original reports at the AV Library. The scrapbooks and minute books are there too. If anyone has clippings or items to add to the scrapbooks be sure to bring them to the library to put in the books.

Anderson Valley Unity Club organized Dec. 8, 1923 through the efforts of Jeanette Hendricks—wife of Jim Hendricks, High School Principal, assisted by Anna Higgins. First officers were: Ms. I.C. (Frances) Burke, President; Mrs. Ralph (Millie) Brown, Vice-president, Mrs. Frank (Hattie) Brown, secretary- Mrs. Jessie McCarty, Treasurer.

Meetings were held in homes of members twice a month. First meeting held at Will Witherell home. Some homes that “we” (Blanche, Zola & Alpha) remember meeting at were - Maude Ingram, Frances Burke, Miss Eliza Clow, Jessie McCarty, Winnie Reilly, Mrs. Eliza Clow, Millie Brown, Virginia Clay, Emily Foster, Maude Prather, Retta Witherell and Hattie Brown.

Some of the early members were: Mrs. I.C. Burke, Mrs. Jim Hendricks, Miss Elizabeth Chance, Mrs. Jessie McCarty, Mrs. Frank Brown, Mrs. Ralph Brown, Mrs. Martha Rawles, Mrs. Roy Zane, Miss Eliza Clow, Mrs. Will Cureton, Mrs. W.N. Clay, Mrs. Albert Farrell, Mrs. J.T. Farrer, Mrs. Delcina Rawles, Mrs. Hargrave, Mrs. Will Witherell, Mrs. Russie Rawles, Miss Thelma Rawles, Miss Lyle Rawles, Mrs. Elizabeth Gowan, Mrs. Amanda Burke, and Mrs. Winnie Reilly.

(The club was) County Federated (by the Federated Women’s Club) March 15, 1924, State Federated April 2, 1924 and Nationally Federated in 1950. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) was founded in 1890 during the progressive movement. It is a federation of over 3000 women’s clubs in the United States- which promote civic improvements through volunteer service.

As a side note I was in the Cloverdale Library a few days ago and noticed a plaque on the wall stating that the Women’s Improvement Club of Cloverdale was incorporated on Feb. 2, 1922. This date is so very close to the Dec. 8, 1923 founding date of the AV Unity Club. I was wondering about this coincidence when someone reminded me that women got the vote on August 18, 1920 and this empowering moment in U.S. Women’s history probably motivated a good number of women to get organized and get their agenda moving forward.

Mrs. Burke served 2 ½ years (as president). During her term (Fall 1924) the first County (Mendocino County Federated Women’s Clubs) Club Convention ever held was held here at the high school. The preparations for this Convention was tremendous - dishes and silverware were purchased - cloth for tablecloths purchased and made up into the tablecloths that we still use on special occasions - details of the luncheon - everything according to Emily Post, too - Mrs. Burke saw to that. (See original reports for details). Mrs. Burke 1926-1927 served as Chairman of Child Welfare for County Club - was given pioneer medal by the County clubs for 10 years service as Child Health and Welfare Chairman.

County Convention held in Anderson Valley every 4 years, two of our members - Mrs. Frances Burke and Mrs. Hazel Nobles have been County Presidents. Many members have served as county officers and Chairman and even after the county was absorbed into the District - many were officers and chairman.

During the early years established a Juvenile Library - Millie Brown kept the books at her home - had approximately 200 - and loaned them out from her home. Library Committee usually gave a Silver Tea for their money-raising project. “We” think that eventually books were given to the school.

Of the many projects the Club and Farm Bureau worked together on the MacDonald to Sea Highway was one of our biggest. “Boosters Committee” for the club worked hard on this - letters written to officials etc. Officials were sent from Sacramento to inspect roads etc. and “Boosters Committee” met them in cars decorated in club colors - yellow and green, escorted them to lunch at the High School, gave them all the facts about the road etc. (see originals for details).

Club gave dances and dinner to raise money - usually held at the High School - as more joined club meetings were held at the High School (Elem. School now) (2023 now gone). Mendocino County started a health camp in 1927 – held in Anderson Valley - opened with 8 children. Mrs. Burke worked hard for camp - even helping to clean it up before camping season every year. Flower Fund started in 1927 - flowers sent for deceased member or close family of a member. Now called Visiting Committee - floral remembrances or memorial gifts to special funds or Memorial Books to Memorial shelf are given now. 1929 - Pioneer Day - quite a day turkey dinner served to all who attended who were over 70 - others had picnic lunches - 28 were over 70 years of age. Americanization Committee appointed about 1934 - their job to help people study for the citizenship test - Blanche Brown one of committee.

Idea of securing Hendy Woods for a park originated at a club meeting in the late 1920’s - never did let the idea die - kept hammering away at different officials and agencies etc. through the years. Climax - July 7, 1963 - dedication of Hendy Woods State Park - see notes in scrapbooks for details.

For many years one of the highlights of the club year was meeting at Lola Hulbert’s in April or May for lunch and to see her garden. 1936 - Pioneer and Antique Show was climax of studying Anderson Valley History that year - see scrapbooks for details). Club sponsored first school lunches - Easter Egg Hunt, etc. (Egg Hunt got too big for us). Sent $1.00 per member ($62) to County Federation toward scholarship- this first county scholarship was given in the 40’s for nursing - Delitha Clark’s daughter, Jean won this one. See Zola’s report for details. Moved to Indian Creek Club House in 1946 for meetings etc. (end of Blanche, Zola and Alpha’s report as the first minutes book is gone - we think it burned in Blanche’s fire - we’ll be open to additions and corrections.)

Now a few notes of 50’s. Garden Section started in the early 50’s - Bessie Clark first chairman. Anderson Valley Public Lending Library (sponsored by the club) opened in Dec. 1953 at Indian Creek Club House. Moved to Elementary School when club moved to Veteran’s Building about 1961 or 1962 and last year (i.e.1966 when this report was written) Library moved to Home Arts Building at Fair Grounds. From a box of 52 books has grown to approx. 1700 (today - 2023 best guessitmate by librarian Mary Darling is 3000 books). Started to give our own scholarship $100.00 per year in 1957 - sale of Christmas tree Greens always a project for the scholarship.

The person who wrote this summary of the three historian’s reports finished with “Quote from Alpha’s Report (Alpha’s starts in 1936) - “Reading back through three of these minute books has been a pleasure and inspiration to me - working and associating with these splendid women (many of them gone now) for projects they held to be worthy, doing this bit toward making the world a happier and better place in which to live, seems to prove to me the truth of our club motto - “In Unity there is Strength”. (This reflects my feelings in reading these reports too). The line about how this reflects my feeling too was written by the summarizer. I have to add all these years later that I too feel very good reading over the aspirations and accomplishments of so many women who went before us. Volunteerism isn’t always “fun” but it is (almost always) rewarding.

We’ll have a more specific and detailed history of the Unity Club next week.

P.S. Note how many of the first names mentioned are “old-fashioned” to us today and not in common us. Names like Alpha, Hattie, Eliza, Winnie and Zola are rarely heard today. Names are common to an era for example the Susan, Linda, and Janet and Kathy’s from the 1950’s. One day Tiffany, Kendall, Taylor and Riley will sound just as old fashioned to people who haven’t yet been born.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *