OREGON – On Friday, Sept. 16, at the regular meeting of the Oregon Woman's Club, the group celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding with cake, a toast, and the inauguration of a dedication plaque in Mix Park.
The club was organized in 1922 and joined the General Federation of Woman's Clubs in 1924. The club was the successor to the Oregon Woman's Council. The purpose of the organization has always been to be a service organization contributing to the good of the community.
The Oregon Woman' Council was organized in 1901 under the leadership of Mrs. Roberta Kaufman. Early projects included the raising funds for the landscaping of the Ogle County Courthouse grounds and the beginning of a 24-year lobbying campaign to have the White Pines Forest named a state park. That project continued after the name change, and this goal was finally achieved in September of 1927. Later projects of the early years included planting shrubbery at the Coliseum and contributing to a census and history of the oldest trees in Oregon. The results of that census are on file at the Oregon Public Library. The club also bought and placed Loredo Taft's dioramas at the Oregon High School.
Since 1951, the annual antique show has been a major fundraiser for the club. The show was originally called the Oregon Antique and Hobby Show. The proceeds from the first two shows were used to purchase playground equipment for Mix Park. The site for the park had been donated to the city in 1920 by Mrs. Lydia Mix Slagle and her husband. Proceeds from subsequent shows went to plantings at Pines Road and Route 2, flower boxes for the city, an annual banquet for high school juniors and seniors, a drinking fountain for the library, books for the library and local schools, the Lions Club Park, Project Concern in Vietnam, and scholarships to help send students to music, art, and conservation camps.
The OWC has also been a prime mover in the development of the Oregon Park District. Interest began in 1966 when the Oregon Parents Club expressed a desire to have a community swimming pool, but the cost of a pool was prohibitive for such a small group. They enlisted the aid of Anne Geiken, who was president of the OWC, in organizing a number of interested small groups who decided that the answer was to form the Oregon Park District. The OWC agreed to bear the cost of an election to decide whether to organize the Park District. Voters approved the formation in December of 1966. Anne Geiken served on the first park district board. In 1967 the OWC donated $4,000 to the Park District board to go toward the building of the pool.
Because of the OWC's early involvement with the development of Mix Park and the park district, the club arranged to have a memorial plaque placed in Mix Park. Thanks go to Andy Egyed and the staff at the park district for their help in choosing the site for the plaque and for the installation.
This tradition of community service continues to this day. The OWC regularly contributes to numerous community projects and services, including HOPE, Lifeline Friends of Library, the Rock River Center, Pegasus Special Riders, Village of Progress, Winning Wheels, FOCUS House in Rochelle, Shining Star, VFW Post 8739, Serenity Home and Hospice, and Nachusa Grasslands.