A Brief History
In October 1922, several women friends arranged a surprise birthday and “pound” party for Mrs. Mason, who had lost all her possessions in a fire earlier that year. Everyone donated one pound of something useful. Because everyone enjoyed themselves, Mrs. Granger suggested that the women should continue to meet for purposes of sociability and civic duty. The result was the Women’s Town Improvement Society, organized with 20 charter members. One month later, they had 30 new members and $57 in the treasury (dues were placed at $1 per year).
A clean town was one of the mottos of the society and every effort was made to make Pass-A-Grille a model village. In addition to their other works, the society also decided to take up child welfare work. The local Parent Teacher Association met with the society to study child welfare conditions. Construction of a playground in the public park was one of their first projects. Also, new benches for visitors were placed on the city pier and at street intersections. Mrs. Joe Girard served as the first President of the Women’s Town Improvement Society.
Two bazaars held in March 1924-25, netted $676.07 and the money became the nucleus for a building fund. In June 1925, the Club, now affiliated with the county and state federation of clubs, bid on the old school building at Pass-A-Grille, and possession was taken at the close of school the following year.
In 1926, with a membership of 60 local residents and winter visitors, the Women’s Town Improvement Society became the Pass-A-Grille Woman’s Club.
It soon became apparent that the old school house on 10th Avenue did not have enough space for the growing Club. They had purchased a lot on 22nd Avenue, however, obtaining the money to finance a building project was a problem. Mr. Louis Ingram, a successful industrialist of Beacon’s Falls, PA and friend of the Ellsworths, offered to finance the entire deal. He requested that Ann Ellsworth be President for the building years (1937-1938), and stay with the project until the mortgage was paid off.
The present clubhouse was completed in 1938 and Mrs. Ann O. Ellsworth was President during that time. Mr. Winfield Lott was the architect and Maynard Inc. of St. Petersburg was the contractor. The total cost was $8600.58. The mortgage was burned on January 16, 1947, just 8 years after the building was completed. Mrs. Oswald C. Tracy was President.
During the war when activities were curtailed, ladies helped wherever needed: packing sterile bandages, making cookies for the soldiers, spotting planes from the roof of the Don CeSar.
Through the years funds have been given for Junior College scholarships, for city park beautification and to organizations including the Pass-A-Grille Athletic Association & Welfare League, St. Pete Beach Public Library, St. Pete Beach Paramedics, Free Clinic, Center Against Spouse Abuse, Alpha House, Pinellas Center for the Visually Impaired, Pinellas County SPCA, Gulf Beaches Elementary School, and more.
We believe we are the oldest social organization on Long Key Island.