Woman’s club marries history, muscle

Mary Reach crochets a carpet for Lemon Bay Woman's Club

SUN PHOTO BY TOM CHANG Mary Reach crochets a carpet at the Lemon Bay Woman’s Club open house Monday. The club, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was open for tours Monday as part of Lemon Bay Fest.

ENGLEWOOD — For new visitors, the Lemon Bay Woman’s Club represents Englewood’s rich history and traditions as much as it represents the modern era.

On Monday, club president Nadine Kubisch presided over women engaged in an eclectic mix of crafting from tree skirts, pottery toy soldiers and flower arrangements to crocheting and knitting.

“We’re always doing crafts,” Kubisch said.

Standing the test of time, The Lemon Bay Woman’s Club was founded by Dr. Mary Green in 1918 as a club for mothers and 95 years later, it still attracts a crowd.

The club displayed past and current crafting projects Monday as part of Lemon Bay Fest — History With Zest.

“(Mary Green) thought it would be wise if people could meet in one place, because there were younger mothers,” said Terri Powell, club photographer and past president. “In those days, mothers stayed at home with their children.”

Renamed the Lemon Bay Woman’s Club in 1924, the facility was originally in a schoolhouse on Old Englewood Road between Harvard and Stewart streets until a fire destroyed that building. Members continued to meet until another school became available.

The club found its final home when two lots were donated by A. Stanley and Winifred E. Lampp at the corner of Cocoanut and Maple streets.

“There was an architect from Sarasota who built houses in the prairie design,” Powell said as she conducted a tour of the clubhouse, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “This is all prairie design. The back door was part of the original design. It was built for this building. The fireplace was also original to the building.”

Numerous renovations and expansions over the years remained faithful to the original design with construction materials used from the period. A kitchen and bathroom were added.

“They used outhouses in those days when it was built,” Powell said. “I had the opportunity to see to the ceiling. (It’s) almost like a cathedral church. They put those (suspended cables) there to keep the ceiling up. There’s no insulation in the walls. About seven years ago, we had new windows put in.”

Club members are working on projects to raffle and sell for the fall bazaar.

“We do a quilt each year,” said Julia Gervais, publicity chairwoman. “This year’s design is a woman with parasol. For next year, we’re working on a design that will have berries, circles and leaves.”

Mary Reach, club chaplain, demonstrated crocheting and knitting using scraps of yarn.

“My grandmother taught me how to crochet.” Reach said. “Crocheting is old as the hills. I crochet things like sweaters and baby bunting. It takes about 20 hours of continuous work to do a full-size two-by-four foot carpet.” Reach says she doesn’t use any patterns.

The clubhouse at 51 N. Maple St. is the oldest service organization in Englewood. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, the first in Englewood to hold the distinction. Other area listings, according to the National Registry, include the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Whitney Historic District and Osprey Archaeological and Historic Site.

Go to lemonbaywomansclub. com or call 941-474-9762.

For more information on Lemon Bay Fest, go to lemonbayfest.com  .

Lemon Bay Woman's Club quilt 2013

SUN PHOTO BY TOM CHANG The Lemon Bay Woman’s Club shows off its annual quilt for 2013. The design contains a pattern of a woman with parasol.


About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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