1925 Flower Show
Claude Chana in Old Town
Auburn Garden Club
The earliest roots of the Auburn Garden Club (no pun intended) go back to 1925 as documented in the photograph of one of the first flower shows held in the old High School gym. Unfortunately, we don't really know the status or even the name of the group sponsoring the show, but we do know that various gardening groups met in the community, exchanged ideas and information, and sponsored flower shows such as this one.
Then, in the spring of 1934, three Auburn neighbors, Emily Gum, Marie Jones, and Edith Slade attended a Sacramento Garden Club meeting and decided to form a club in Auburn.
An organizational meeting was held on April 6, 1934, and the first officers installed were Mrs. John A. Shields, President, Mrs. Marie Jones, Vice President, and Mrs. William R. Macy, Secretary. By-laws were drawn up, and dues were set at $1.00 per year.
Club meetings were held at the old Congregational Church Guild Hall (now the site of the downtown Wells Fargo Bank and formerly Placer Savings and Loan), with a cost of $1.00 for use of the hall. By May 25, the club had attracted 56 members and a motion was made to close the charter. However, the club voted unanimously to leave club membership open.
In July the club joined the State Federation, and in August 1934 the club was officially federated, and the organization named The Auburn Garden Club. The following committees were appointed: Publicity, Civic and Roadside Beautification, Program, Exchange and Exhibit, Librarian, and Botany.
At meetings, trading of shrubs and plants was an attraction, floral arrangements were brought, and speakers were engaged to talk on flowers. In February, 1936, Mrs. Henry Eisley (does that name sound familiar?) presented an instructional talk on the propagation of plants. Work was progressing on the Auburn Union Grammar School planting project. That same year, a flower show, called Placer County Flower Festival, was held and remained an annual event for several years. (For out-of-town visitors to our site, the Eisley family founded a nursery on Nevada St. that continues to thrive today) The members continued to support many worthwhile community beautification projects, and in 1948 the dues were raised to $2.50, to reduce time spent on money-making projects.
Esther Baker started the first bird study group in September, 1950; three prize-winning photos of arrangements from the Fall Flower Show were sent to National for the 1952 Flower Arrangement Calendar; the club won a trophy for 1952-1953 Club Year Book; and the club celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1954. Eleanor Stanley started a horticulture group in December 1954, and June 1956 this group became known as 'Dirt Gardeners'.
Our own current member, Rosemary Headley, served as president for the term 1958-1959, and in 1961 club members toured Rosemary\'s new rose garden, the start of the Headley's annual Rose Walk, which became an area tradition. Rosemary presided again for the club year 1966-1967, her second term.
Another one of our members, Anna Moeller, who recently passed away, joined in 1961, and she, along with Lydia Thome, planned the small garden on the side of the Library next to the sitting room. For over 20 years, Anna regularly brought flowers and visited with the residents of Auburn Gardens Health Center, now named Country Villa Auburn Health Care Center.
In 2000, while Claudia Duncan was serving as president, the first newsletter was published, and continues as a monthly publication during the club year. In 2002 the club moved to Bethlehem Lutheran Church where the first large plant sale took place. It has continued there with all profits providing grants to local non profit groups. Another enjoyable part of the club was visiting member's gardens after the monthly meetings.
In 2020, with the start of COVID, the club moved to on line meetings through September of 2021. This allowed our club to continue to “meet” and still share our knowledge with each other. In October of 2021 we went back to meeting in person.
For a copy of the complete History by Lillian Wilson, please contact us via email.
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