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October 11, 2016 > Country Club of Washington Township celebrates 120th Anniversary

Country Club of Washington Township celebrates 120th Anniversary

Submitted By Kelsey Camello

During the mid to late 1800s and the early 1900s women across the country, especially in cities, began forming social clubs en masse. Some clubs were dedicated toward social life, while others tackled pressing issues of the day. Despite Washington TownshipÕs more rural locality, women of the area did not escape this trend. The year was 1896, when two prominent ladies (Laura Tilden Thane of Niles and Mary C. Allen of Centerville) decided to merge their separate womenÕs clubs into one. Together they formed the Country Club of Washington Township, an organization founded upon the principles of unity and togetherness, helpfulness, logic and reason, social justice and morality. This year, the club celebrates 120 years of continuous work in the local community.

Hundreds of women have been a part of the clubÕs history. Most joined as young mothers in their 20s and 30s.For some, Washington Township was their birthplace, and for others, their adopted home. For all of them, one cause - community outreach - became a part of their personal identities. Eight of these committed women continue to serve today, and have done so for over 50 years.

Bernice ÒBunnyÓ Voorhees joined the Country Club in 1942, Virginia ÒGinnyÓ Marriott joined in Ô49, Corinne Young in Ô53, Catherine Mozzetti in Ô54, Gwen Cowell in Ô56, Joy Frederick in Ô62, Jean Messick in Õ63, and Mary Jane John in Õ64. Together they form the Òover 50Ó group within the club.

Bernice joined during World War II, while her husband was away in the service. In her first few years in the club she assisted in the war effort through countless hours of community work. She went on to become very active in the local Little League and the Washington Township Business and Professional Women Association.

Virginia recalls working with children with special needs, as she was instrumental in opening a nursery school and acquiring funds for playground equipment. Additionally, she remembers fondly the fun of fashion shows, garden parties, speaker luncheons, plays, dance clubs, and card games. She enjoyed being a part of the club during a time when its membership was near 200!

When Corinne became a member of the club she first joined as a member of the Junior WomenÕs Club. Many women joined as juniors and later ÒgraduatedÓ to become members of the Country Club, when they turned 35. Once she moved up, Corinne joined the Hobby section, responsible for decorations at events and meetings, as well as fundraising for the group and other charities. She recalls working on the reprint of the book History of Washington Township, alongside other members.

Like Corinne, Catherine joined as a junior and later became involved with the Hobby section of the group. She was also instrumental in the raising of funds for and the restoration of the historic Shinn House, including doing hands on work herself! Additionally, she fondly recalls working with at-risk females at Serra Center and that for years afterward they would approach her with gratitude.

GwenÕs early years in the club were spent staffing polio clinics around Fremont, where vaccines were distributed on sugar cubes. She also aided in eye testing that took place in elementary schools for many years. Like Corinne, she worked hard on the Shinn House restoration, both in fundraising and elbow grease. She is also a founding member of the Candlelighters, an organization that continues to run the Ghost House and Halloween Carnival at Williams Historic Park every October.

Joy recalls the fun of fashion shows, twice-monthly meetings, card playing marathons, and assisting with eye testing and the work on the Shinn House. She was instrumental in fundraising for many local charities, including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, The Salvation Army and Serra Center.

JeanÕs original motivation for joining the club was to make social connections and to become involved in the growing community that was to become Fremont. Far from simply making friends, Jean soon found herself busy as she took the lead in many projects over the years. Her proudest accomplishments include the opening of Ardenwood Historic Farm and development of the Early American Antique and Craft Museum at the Alameda County Fair.

Mary Jane recalls the charitable work of leading story time for children at the Newark Library, advising high school truants, and helping the club win the distinguished District Federation of WomenÕs Clubs Award for ÒBuilding a Better Community.Ó

All of these women should be praised for their tireless devotion to community and service, as a part of an organization that has continually been at the forefront of progress in Washington Township, now the Tri-City Area, for 120 years. HereÕs to another 100 years of women working to change and improve both the heart and the face of this dynamic, ever evolving community.

The public is invited to attend a reception on Saturday, October 22, to honor the Country Club and the women who have been members for more than 50 years. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to (510) 623-7907 or

Country Club of Washington Township Celebration
Saturday, Oct 22
2 p.m. Ð 4 p.m.
Odd Fellows (IOOF) Hall
40955 Fremont Blvd, Fremont
RSVP: (510) 623-7907

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