Civic Club

April 28th, 2009

WATSONTOWN CIVIC CLUB
The Watsontown Civic Club was formed on Friday afternoon, February 25, 1910 in the G.A.R. Hall with many men and women present. The first officers were elected as follows: Mrs. Wm. Field Shay, president; Mrs. Joseph R. Housel, first vice president; Mrs. Roll Follmer, second vice presidennt, Miss Bertha Wagner, secretary; Miss Anna McCormick, corresponding secretary; and Mrs. Jennie Mills McClure, treasurer. The purpose of the organization was to promote a cleaner community and an awaredness of positive activities within the borough. In 1917 an article appeared in The Record and Star regarding the free collection of rubbish. A few years before this, the Civic Club had requested the borough to have a spring cleanup collecting items that people wish to dispose of including lawn clippings and such. In addition to beautifing yards, people were encouraged to tend to their cellars and outhouses that they be cleaned and whitewashed. Vacant lots were to be cleared of all manure and other unsanitary material, making sure that the property was properly drained to avoid outbreaks of tuberculosis and infantile paralysis as well as other contagious diseases from spreading from these potential breeding grounds for bacteria. The cleanup was to create a healthier and more beautiful community. In 1917 the borough council decided not to resume this service due as the paper put it, “to the abuse of the privilege by business houses and others, who took advantage of the chance to load up the wagon with all sorts of refuse that overstepped the intents of the originators of the movement, causing an unreasonable outlay of labor and money, which justifies the officals in refusing to be further imposed upon.” The paper wrote that it was “simply a case of ‘riding a free horse to death,’ and the matter of keeping the town clean will again return to the individual efforts of the people.” In 1923, the Civic Club took action against sign boards along the highways leading into town and adopted the following resolution: “Resolve, that we call upon the merchants and business people of Watsontown and Northumberland County in general to aid us in our efforts to do everything possible towards discourageing the erection of large disfiguring sign boards that mar the wonderful scenery along our otherwise beautiful highways. Northumberland County is one of the beauty spots of the world, and we regret that any of our citizens should be willing to do anything to detract therefrom. We therefore call upon those who have erected such signs to remove them at once, and we express the sincere hope that none will be erected in the future.”

The Civic Club was responsible for the town clock, the Memorial Park to which the Club had given more than $50 each year, aided the town council in organizing spring cleanups and having rubbish hauled away. The Civic Club had been a good organization of working women to help keep our town beautiful. The Club disbanded on May 25, 1925 and the funds disposed of since no one would take on the presidency. Mrs. Shay, who had served as president since the club was oranized could no longer continue and had hoped that some public-spirited woman would take the presidency.
[The Record and Star, March 4, 1910, pg 8; March 30, 1917, pg 1; April 27, 1917, pg 1; June 1, 1923, pg 1; May 22, 1925, pg 1.]

Last Modified: 04.28.09

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