A special find was recently given to the History Center for our Library collection.
We were given a scrapbook covering the early days of the Mountain View Home Demonstration Club.
I'm not sure of the history of this scrapbook, but somehow it ended up at the Wetmore Community Building and was discovered during the clean out process in preparation for the recent building renovation.
I believe the scrapbook belonged to active member and long-time Wetmore resident Betty Gray as her name is written in several of the annual yearbooks in the scrapbook.
The earliest with her name on it is 1964:
Farm women's organizations existed in some form or another in rural America before 1914, but it was not until the Smith-Lever Act was passed by Congress in May of 1914 that these groups flourished, gradually becoming known as "home demonstration clubs."
"The act mandated that state and local governments match federal funding in order to establish agricultural extension work by trained men and women agents. Their mission was to disseminate educational information on agriculture and home economics to individuals who did not attend college."
The government program was coordinated between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state land-grant colleges, and as a result, women agents visited rural Colorado women who formed the home demonstration clubs.
Agents informed women on topics such preparation of nutritious meals, canning and pressure cooking to preserve meats, fruits and vegetables, sewing, household sanitation, gardening practices and poultry raising.
It was also a means for rural women to socialize.
Home demonstration clubs met monthly or bimonthly in member's homes or local community buildings. Demonstrations and often luncheons were part of the gatherings.
This was the case with the Mountain View Home Demonstration Club in Wetmore which formed on July 15, 1949.
This information comes from the typewritten "History of Mountain View Club" found in the scrapbook and reads:
" On the afternoon of July 15, 1949 a group of women gathered at the home of Mrs. O.L. Braly for the purpose of organizing a Home Demonstration club for this community. This club's organization was aided by the County Agent, Mr Charles McDaniels from Canon City and the assistant County Agent Mrs J. O. Brandenburg from Florence.
All who were present discussed the formation of the club and the plans for it's future. An inactive club had been organized some time before and it was decided that the present officers of that club would remain in office as the new active club's officers until the annual election in October. The officers at that time were: President--Mrs Glenn Smith, Vice President---Mrs George Draper, Secretary-Treasurer--Mrs O.L. Braly.
The Club's name was adopted as "Mt. View Home Demonstration Club", and the purpose of said club would be to improve our home community and family and to encourage farm families to act in the Community sponsored 4-H club work.
Meetings were set for the fourth Thursday of each month, but was later changed to Tuesdays.
On Aug. 29, 1949 the first meeting was held in the Wetmore school house basement which as to be the regular meeting place. It was decided to serve covered dish luncheons and then meetings in the afternoon. Twenty one ladies were present at the meeting and the group adopted their club flower as the red rose and their colors as red and white."
According to the history, it was decided to move the monthly meetings to member's homes in 1951, but if a member could not fulfill this obligation, she could hold the meeting at the school house basement.
Here's a photo of the History of Mountain View Club
Annual meetings were held throughout the state, bringing local chapters together for programs, demonstrations, outings, socializing, and catching up.
Programs in the scrapbook include annual meetings held in Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Glenwood Springs, Canon City, Westcliffe, Estes Park, Salida, and Trinidad. The earliest program in the scrapbook is from the National Home Demonstration Council which met in Colorado Springs in 1949.
A photo gallery has been created to share a small fraction of what is included in the scrapbook.
Fast forward to 2017!
Over the years, the Mountain View Home Demonstration Club changed to Mountain View Homemakers Group which still meets monthly for lunch at area restaurants.
The new incarnation is very informal.
There are no officers, bylaws or annual meetings.
It is just an informal gathering which provides a way for women in the community to touch base with each other.
Anyone is invited to join the Homemakers for lunch.
If you are interested, please contact the WHG&HS at firstname.lastname@example.org
In June 2017, the Homemakers met at the Gooseberry Patch in Penrose: