Journey to 100: From Our Archives



Carol Dodge, Club Historian

Carol Dodge, Club Historian

For the past 95 years, what arrives faithfully each and every month, never breaks down or crashes and keeps us aware of our Club activities? Of course, it is our BULLETIN. Early in our history the first Board of Directors knew that good communication was very important to the life of the Club, and in May, 1924, just 3 months after our beginning, members received their first copy of the BULLETIN. It was just 6 1/4" x 3 1/4", had 4 pages and was pink! Seven hundred copies were printed as we already had that many members. What a gold mine we have in our BULLETINS with the history of our Club for 95 years as well as of our city, country, and world. The Committee is eager to share bits of our history with you each month.  

The Women's City Club was founded January 4th, 1924 by the presidents of the various women’s organizations of Grand Rapids with the help from the president of the Women's City Club of Detroit. Some of the women's organizations included the League of Women Voters, Zonta Club, Altrusa Club, and the Women's University Club. On November 14th, 1923, twenty-one women from these organizations met for tea at the Peninsular Club where they discussed the possibility of finding a more permanent headquarters for the many homeless women's organizations, and the organization was formed.

The Women's City Club became a private social club where women of the city could meet socially and enjoy the companionship of other women whose work and interests were varied and would then together further the good life in Grand Rapids. In 1924 there were nineteen clubs who had a relationship with the Club. By June of 1924 there were 800 members.

The Morton Hotel housed the club meetings the first year, but it soon became clear that the two rooms given to the club would not hold the ever-growing members. The officers made the decision to purchase their own home, the Silas Godfrey House, in November of 1924. Membership was continuing to grow and by 1929 there would be 1,800 members. The Godfrey House was not going to be large enough to house everyone, which prompted the club officials to purchase a new home in 1927; the Sweet House.

With an ever-growing membership, the programs began to expand. Members could attend educational and cultural programs, style shows, concerts, bus trips, health and lifestyle programs, book reviews, travelogues, and armchair cruises, and a variety of classes. Members could also reserve a space at the clubhouse for private events, have lunch in the elegant Desdemona's Dining Room, and borrow books from the Edith Spindler Library.