Woman's Club

Built in 1864 by Joseph T. Russ, the Marianna Woman’s Club house was one of the older homes in Marianna and had several owners before Sally C. Messer. Known as the Messer home, it was purchased and restored for use by the Woman's Club in 1950. This photograph was taken around 1982.

The Marianna Woman’s Club will celebrate its centennial at a reception 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at its clubhouse, 2902 Caledonia St., at the Clinton Street intersection in Marianna.

The general public is invited to attend, with light refreshments available at the gathering.

The City of Marianna recently, by proclamation, recognized the significant contributions the club has made to the community over its century of existence.

A brief history was include in the document, beginning with the Nov. 4, 1919 organization meeting at the home of Mrs. J.L. Horne, where 21 charter members formalized its organization.

One of its first community endeavors was a significant street clean-up project to collect the trash that had accumulated on what was then a network of mostly unpaved roads in the town of Marianna.

The group would go on to spearhead many other community projects through the years, including the establishment of Confederate Memorial Park and the enhancement of Marianna High School grounds with shrubbery and other plants shortly after that facility was built. The club would also be credited with raising the money to have the gazebo erected in Confederate Park.

The club published a cookbook in 1929, and is credited with giving camp scholarships to 4-H youngsters, feeding needy elementary-age children homemade meals from their homes, and giving parties for the boys housed at the old Dozier School. The club also had built, and maintained, public restroom facilities in downtown Marianna.

The club also, for a time, housed Marianna’s first public library.

The group also took on, in 1950, a great public health care responsibility. A hookworm epidemic was sweeping through the local school system then, and the group worked with the Jackson County Health Department to test samples, delivered related medications and had private privy bases built, selling them at a grand sum of $3 each to local families to replace outhouses in an effort to wipe out the epidemic. When their work started, it’s estimated, 60-80 percent of local school children were carrying active hookworms. The club’s work, carried out for five consecutive years, played a primary role in the eradication of that malady. They would win a $5,000 check from the Kroger grocery chain in recognition of that accomplishment, and the club used that money to help buy and renovate their clubhouse. They also received a letter from President Harry S. Truman in recognition of their efforts in helping eradicate the hookworm epidemic.

Over the years, the Marianna Woman’s Club has given roughly $89,000 in student scholarships to Chipola College, and is also a long-time supporter of Sunland training center and a wealth of other community assets and organizations, including Partners for Pets, Marianna Health and Rehab, Backpacks for Kids, and veterans’ outreach programs.

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