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Woman's Club of Coconut Grove (1891-) | University of Miami Finding Aids

Name: Woman's Club of Coconut Grove (1891-)
Variant Name: The Housekeepers Club


Historical Note:

On February 19, 1891, Flora McFarlane convened the initial meeting of the first woman's organization in Florida, the Housekeepers Club. The charter members were representative of the pioneering families of Coconut Grove: Mrs. Kirk Munroe, Mrs. Joseph Frow, Mrs. Charles Peacock, Mrs. Charles John Peacock and Mrs. Benjamin Newbold.  Miss McFarlane came from New Jersey, in December of 1886, as a guest of Mrs. Thomas Munroe and her son Mr. Ralph Munroe. She became the first school mistress of the nascent community and later invited the mothers and those without children to sewing meetings at the school house. Community service and mutual support of members were integral parts of the organization. Club activities included the construction of the first church, city beautification, environmental conservation, sponsoring of the first Girl Scout troupe as well as involvement with the woman suffragist movement and financial support of World War II orphans in Europe.

Chronology

1891

Housekeepers' Club founded by Miss Flora McFarlane, 1st president, 1891-1893.

Constitution and by laws adopted.

First tea and social event held in the Sunday school room.

1894

Vote to disband the club.

Decision not to disband the club and "to work harder than ever".

1893

Mrs. J. H. Swanson (Emma) elected 2nd president, 1893-1895.

1895

Mrs. Kirk Munroe elected 3rd president, 1895-1897.

The Florida Federation of Women's Clubs organized in Green Cove Springs.

1897

First Housekeepers Club house built under the leadership of Mrs. J.S. Frederick, 4th president, with land donated by Commodore Ralph Munroe, Miss McFarlane and a contribution by Henry M. Flagler.

Charter obtained in order to own property. Document is signed by Isabella Peacock, Louisa Newbold, Flora McFarlane, Julia Thompson and Martha Peacock.

Sunday school building becomes the Union Congregational Church - later known as Plymouth Congregational Church.

1898

Mrs. Charles Peacock elected, 5th president, 1898-1901.

The Florida Federation is admitted to the General Federation of Women's Clubs.

1901

Housekeepers Club is federated in the state of Florida.

1906

The 10th Annual meeting of the Florida Federation of Women's Club held in Miami.

Mrs. John Gifford of the Housekeepers Club introduces a motion requesting that: "The Federation endorses a proposal to make a Federal Forest Reservation of Paradise Key in the Everglades in order to preserve the unique group of royal palms, this being the only spot in the United States where the palms are growing naturally."

1910-1915

Ms Flora McFarlane serves as club president.

1915

State of Florida deeds 4,000 acres of land, including Paradise Key, to the Florida Federation of Women's Club.

1916

Housekeepers Club charter amended to build a new club house.

Dade County Federation of Women's Clubs is organized by Mrs. A. Leight.

Mrs. Kirk Munroe elected 1st president of the Dade County Federation of Women's Clubs.

The Housekeepers Club House is sold.

1919

Incorporation of Coconut Grove and spelling changed from "Cocoanut Grove" to "Coconut Grove".

1920

Miss Flora McFarlane, club founder, passes away.

1921

Housekeepers Club members vote in favor of building a new club house.

Dedication ceremony for new club house designed by Florida architect Walter C. DeGarmo

"Blue Pheasant Tea Room" opens, 1921-1923 to pay for clubhouse expenses.

1922

"Trip Around the World" pageant organized as a fund raiser to pay for the new club house construction debt.

1923

First Girl Scout troop in Dade County is organized by Mildred Emerson Crawford, member of the Housekeepers club.

1925

City of Miami annexes Coconut Grove.

1926

Club house is "unroofed" by Hurricane. Memorial Shelter in honor of Miss McFarlane is "swept away".

1930

Jr. Housekeepers Club formed and disbanded.

1941

Celebration of the Housekeepers Club 50th Anniversary.

1942

Mrs. Florence P. Haden burns the mortgage note.  The Housekeepers Club pays off debt incurred because of Hurricane damages.

1946

Jr. Housekeepers Club formed again, Mrs. Fred A. Sutton Jr., 1st president.

Housekeepers Club hosts General Federation of Women's Club.

1949

Florida Legislator passes the bill initiated by the Jr. Housekeepers Club to remove "the stigma of illegitimacy" on children's birth certificates and records.

1957

Housekeepers Club changes its name to the Woman's Club of Coconut Grove.

1966

Diamond Jubilee of the Woman's Club of Coconut Grove.

1975

The club house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1984

The club house is placed on the City of Miami Heritage Conservation List.

1991

100th Anniversary Celebration of the Woman's Club of Coconut Grove.

2007

The Woman's Club of Coconut Grove is still in existence at 2985 South Bayshore Drive, Miami, Florida.

Sources:

Kent and Thurman (1951). The first sixty years of the housekeeper's club. Coconut Grove, Fl., 1951.

Moss, B. (1991, Feb. 21). Pioneer families recall Grove's past. Miami Herald.

Tasker, B. (2007, May 14). A stitch in time. Miami Herald.

The Woman's Club of Coconut Grove yearbook 1984-1985.

Note Author: Beatrice C. Skokan






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