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The Woman’s Club of Lodi: Celebrates Its 113th Year!

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Women have always found ways to gather together to create good, help their community and enrich their own lives. That is what happened when Lodi ladies of 1906 created a civic improvement organization. Twenty-eight ladies gathered in the Methodist Church building and formed the Ladies Improvement Club. That same year, with their help, Lodi became incorporated as an official city with 2,000 residents. Emma Witte Humphrey was elected as first president and women met in each other’s homes. 

A Gathering Place
As the club grew and membership increased, they became associated with the State Federation of Clubs. One of their early projects was installing a drinking fountain on Sacramento Street to offer a non-alcoholic beverage choice for Lodi’s men! Other projects include the library, planting trees and more. In 1915, they bought the building site at the northeast corner of Lee Avenue and Pine Street for $10 in gold from B.W. and Nellie Thayer. That building is where all the wonderful events and meetings are held today.

The Woman’s Club of Lodi is a historic building constructed in 1923 to house The Woman’s Club of Lodi. This locale has historically been used to host performances and social events. As the largest civic auditorium in the city, it served as one of only a few buildings that could host social functions during the 1920s. All types of events continue to be held here, including wedding receptions, birthdays, meetings and more.

The clubhouse, now listed with the state and federal registry of historical places, is still a grand showpiece on Pine Street and continues to be used for weddings, card parties and other social gatherings. Largely unchanged since its debut 96 years ago, the building has undergone one notable change; air conditioning and a new heater were installed in 2000.

A Supportive Community Organization
The club donates to Cancer Kids of San Joaquin, Hospice of San Joaquin, Lions Eye Glass Program, Lodi Adopt a Child, Lodi Boys and Girls Club, Lodi House, Lodi Adventist Health Hospital Foundation, Lodi High School Scholarship, LOEL Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army, Stanislaus Forest Replanting Program, The Women’s Center and Tokay High School Scholarship.

Early on a Sunday morning every fall and in early spring, the building is the congregating point for hundreds of high school students lining up to buy tickets for The Woman’s Club of Lodi’s annual Pigskin Prom and the Gingham dance for teenagers. Although there are many more social and community cause choices for Lodi women today, the Woman’s Club of Lodi remains a vital part of the city.

Recognition of Women’s Achievements
One of their members, Sandy Preszler, was nominated as one of many who might receive the Jennie Award, which will be given by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in June 2020. She joined The Woman’s Club of Lodi 35 years ago in 1984. Since that time, she has worn many hats for the club in all areas. As Director of Rentals, she handles all club rentals. She and her husband, Richard, were named 2018 Citizens of the Year by the Lodi Chamber of Commerce.

Annual Events
The annual German Night Dinner will be held Thursday, September 26, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Guests can dine in upstairs or use the take-out service, drive up on Lee Street. The menu includes bratwurst, sauerkraut, mock cheese buttons, cabbage rolls, salad, kuchen and coffee. Whole kuchens will be available for $10 while they last. All proceeds from the German Night Dinner will be used for preserving and maintaining the historical The Woman’s Club of Lodi building and scholarships. Please call Le Ann Johnson at 209-712-0306 for tickets or you may purchase them at the door. A call to Le Ann to let her know how many tickets you will be purchasing will be greatly appreciated. Make checks payable to The Woman’s Club of Lodi.

The 14th annual Christmas Boutique will be held Saturday, November 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Lunch will be served until 2:30 p.m. On Sunday, November 24, the boutique will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with brunch until 2:30 p.m. This event will feature 40-plus vendors, arts, crafts, jewelry, home-baked goods, a raffle and much more. There will be something special for everyone.

Visit thewomanscluboflodi.org for upcoming event calendar and history. The club is located at 325 West Pine Street, Lodi, California.