Eighty-three years ago, in the midst of the the Great Depression, 13 ladies from Elkin led by Lottie Whitaker joined together to organize a garden club. This was March 8, 1933, and now 83 years later, the organization remains a force in the community with 21 members.
During the March 14 meeting of the Elkin Board of Commissioners, the Yadkin Valley Garden Club was honored for its service to the town and community.
Adam McComb, director of Elkin Recreation and Parks, and Mayor Lestine Hutchens recognized the club members, noting that just this year the group purchased trees for a Habitat for Humanity home build. They also assist with cleaning the garden at Elkin Municipal Park.
According to a history of the club provided, “Entertaining was elegant for the club women. Hats, gloves, and fur wraps were the standard attire according to Bonnie Stuart, whose grandmother became a club member in 1934.”
Today, the club’s meetings remain on Thursdays as they were in the beginning, with members coming together now the first Thursday of the month.
Part of the town’s recognition included the presentation of a check for $300 by Hutchens to assist the club in the purchase of flowers for the park’s garden.
The club twice a year holds clean-ups, something that was initiated in the mid-1950s as a city-wide clean-up campaign.
“Civic beautification remains a major focus of the club’s activities today,” the history reads, highlighting the speaker attorney Lewis Alexander in 1956 who was representing the town of Elkin at a garden club meeting on the topic, “Am I a Litterbug?”
“Mr. Alexander’s words still ring true 50 years later. The club participates in the NCDOT Litter Sweep Roadside Cleanup held biannually in April and September. The dates coincide neatly with the town’s preparation for the wine and pumpkin festivals, and the club is eager to spruce up community streets for the thousands of visitors who attend these events,” said the history written for the club’s 75th anniversary.
The park’s garden was created in 1983 for the club’s 50th anniversary. In 1993, the club won a state civic development award for its renovation of the area. “Club members put in over 200 hours of dirt digging to replant daylilies, daffodils, nandinas, hostas, and liriope; refresh topsoil and mulch; and install benches flanked by hydrangeas,” said the history. “They continue to maintain the area for the pleasure of walkers and joggers today.”
The Yadkin Valley Garden Club was the 11th oldest club in the state at the time of its 75th anniversary.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.