Excerpts taken and summarizations made from the “History of the Rainier Bach Women’s Club”
On May 20, 1923, Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State in Olympia for the Rainier Beach Community Club. These stated, “The purpose of Incorporation is to promote social, civic, and moral progress of the community, to establish a community clubhouse where social meetings and meetings of a community nature may be held to advance the community welfare.” The incorporators were E.R. Scott, Anice Chriswell, Charles Walker, Mr. and Mrs. Don Earle, Mary Ellen pearl, Fannie L. Walker, Frank Parrish, and C.K. Sturtevant. Mr. Scott was the first president.
This action stemmed from the Women’s Club which was established earlier in 1912 originally as the Mother’s Club. The idea of a Women’s club did not embody all that the women desired for the community, and after much talk and many group gatherings in which men participated, the Community Club was formed. The Women’s Club, in return for Lot and Building Fund of $1,000, would receive shares of stock in the Community Club.
The stock was sold as non-profit sharing stock, and in all, 600 shares went out. The Women’s Club bought 150 shares at $10 per share, and when bills for the building came in, they paid them and took shares of stock in payment. They outfitted the kitchen, furnished chairs and other equipment for the hall, made drapes, and paid $1 per year for the use of the building.
The year 1934 saw a change in relations between the Community Club and the Women’s Club. There was dissatisfaction in the Community Club because the Women’s Club owned the majority of the stock in the Community Club. At the annual meeting of both Clubs, Mrs. Pearl was asked to use her judgment and vote accordingly; she voted the entire holdings of the Women’s Club in just one vote. To further ease matters, Mrs. Sorenson gave her extra shares of stock back to the Community Club. Others did likewise, and these were then sold for $1 a share, thus increasing the membership in the Community Club. This was during the depression years when money was scarce but the difficulty didn’t end there.
In May 1937, word was received from the Community Club that they would like to have the Women take over the clubhouse. It was voted for and passed unanimously and legal work was done making the Women’s Club legal owners of the building. The Community Club wasn’t dissolved, only not active at the present.
The next mention of the Community Club wasn’t until February 1947, when the Women leased the building to the Community Club. It was getting active under new leadership. Under the terms of the lease, the Community Club was to pay all club bills, and to make necessary improvements, as well as pay $300 in Escrow. The lease was renewed in 1948.
In March 1950, a Board Meeting of both Clubs was called. In consideration of the expenses involved in repairing and remodeling the clubhouse to bring it up to rental standards, the Women’s Club wanted more security than was offered in the present lease. They suggested a new heating system, a new three-compartment sink, a checkroom, downspouts, and trim to be painted. They felt that a merger or part-membership should be planned at the end of five years if the Community Club makes the repairs. A five-year lease was given to the Community Club and they agreed to make major improvements each year, pay the taxes and insurance, and share a meeting place without cost to them. They took over all rentals.
There’s no mention of Club activities other than repairs and improvement work until June of 1978 when they signed another five-year lease One would have to assume that the lease agreements continued from the original leasing agreement.
Further historical entries show the Women’s Club still closely involved with the Community Club in community issues such as:
- February 1982 – Possible bus shelters though residents at the Prentice Street end of the line were against it
- March 1983 – The Club succeeded in having the City Council deny the Spinnaker Bay re-zone which would have permitted uses such as more condos along the Rainier Beach lake shore
- September 1984 – The Club had the clubhouse painted, gutters and downspouts installed, and bids were being taken for the floor refinishing and new drapes with the Women’s Club sharing the expense
- November 1986 – The Clubs both petitioned the City Council regarding a left turn arrow at Rainier and Henderson streets
- February 1988 – Club discussions included Metro’s plans for Henderson Avenue to become a major transfer station and petitions to the City Council to block commercial construction in Kubota Gardens
- April 1991 – Report that Sturtevant Ravine was acquired by the city and proposed the name Mapes Creek for the stream which flows through it and Kubota Gardens
- May 1992 – Re-zoning at the Merlin Marina was opposed by both Clubs as the city was planning to construct more than 75 residences there
- May 1995 – Clusters of townhouses are being built by the city in the area which will then rent on one-year leases
- September 1997 – Discussion of the sale of the clubhouse building to the VFW which didn’t culminate until 2005 and ended the Community Club’s lease in September of that year