100 cultured years

Published 6:00 am Friday, July 3, 2009

The Columbiana Culture Club began their yearlong “Centennial Celebration” June 27 at the Liberty Day Parade with members dressed in period costumes dating from 1910-2010.

Members rode on their Liberty Day float featuring a huge birthday cake and in two vintage pickup trucks. The Culture Club even won the “Spirit of Freedom” award for the Liberty Day Parade.

The club was organized in 1910 by Miss Perdue, school teacher and principal of the Columbiana grammar school. The organizational meeting took place at the home of Mrs. J. W. Brooks. Charter members were: Perdue, Brooks, Mrs. D.S. Lightcap, Mrs. Mildred D. Wallace, Mrs. Paul Luck, Mrs. W.F. Davis, Mrs. Rosa Teague, Mrs. T. K. Roberts, and Mrs. W. A. Parker. Lightcap was elected president of the club, the first social and literary club in Columbiana. During the first year, the ladies studied Shakespeare and took study courses in the “Bay View Magazine.”

In 1915, the club joined the Alabama Federation of Women Clubs and has remained federated to date. The object of the club is “to promote civic welfare, interest in literature and current affairs, and to enrich the social life of its members and others with whom it comes in contact.” It is limited to 24 members.

The club has been extremely active since its inception. It helped found the Columbiana library in 1920, which first began as a lending library in the Columbiana Drug Store where Main Street Florist is located today. Member Mildred Harrison was the first librarian. The club also provided scholarships for local young ladies to attend college.

During WWII the members received yarn from the Red Cross and knitted sweaters for the soldiers. They also tore up their fur coats and made vests for warm outerwear for the troops. Mayme Horn, the oldest living past member of the club, remembers a silver muskrat coat she donated for this effort. The clubwomen also made pajamas for the veterans in veterans hospitals and sent supplies to Britain during pre-war years.

In 1958, the Culture Club and the Vignette Club, its daughter club founded in 1949, combined their efforts in a community improvement project sponsored by the GFWC and funded by Sears, to renovate, landscape and build a clubroom in the “Rec” building.

Today the club’s ongoing fundraiser is their cookbook, “More Cultured Country Cooking,” published in 2000 and sequel to “Cultured Country Cooking,” originally published in 1987. Funds raised by the cookbook provide scholarships to Shelby County students, as well as support other community needs. Culture is known for its “Paint the Town Purple” fund-raiser by selling purple bows to support the American Cancer Society.

For the Centennial Celebration the members have been divided into six groups that signify a different time period: 1910-1920; 1920-1940; 1940-1960; 1960-1980; 1980-2000 and 2000-2010. Beginning in October, each group is responsible for a club program for their time period, refreshments appropriate to the time and to clothe a mannequin and decorate with period artifacts at the Jeanette Niven House. The club will be in the Columbiana Christmas Parade and the Centennial Celebration will conclude with a tea in May.