BEAUFORT WOMAN’S CLUB CELEBRATES 100th BIRTHDAY
BEAUFORT, N.C. (Jan. 12, 2021) – With more than 100 members strong, the Beaufort Woman’s Club will celebrate its 100th birthday this month, marking a century of community service to Carteret County.
Under the leadership of Beaufort Woman’s Club Co-Presidents Karma Rodholm and Marilyn Shuping, the club’s 2021 activities will honor the organization’s heritage and prepare its members to continue their legacy of service.
“Right now the pandemic prevents our full membership from holding meetings, but we are working in smaller committees, and we plan to showcase our history to our members very soon and to the Beaufort community later this year,” said Shuping.
In addition to birthday events, plans include preserving a century of the club’s scrapbooks, creating an exhibit featuring the names of all club members over the past century, and reaching out to the community with 100 good deeds.
The Beaufort Woman’s Club traces its roots to Jan. 21, 2021, when 12 community-minded women gathered in a Queen Street home to discuss forming a club for the betterment of Beaufort. By the end of 1922, members had raised enough money and books to open a public library on Front Street.
During the Great Depression, club members operated a free lunch program in the Beaufort Graded School on Mulberry Street, serving nearly 16,000 hot lunches with a small federal grant and a shoestring budget. The outreach was praised statewide as a model for other schools.
In 1947 club members helped restore the circa 1731 Old Burying Ground, cleaning the overgrown cemetery and planting azaleas.
The club also originated the highly popular Beaufort Old Homes Tour in 1957 and ran it until 1979. The first tour featured five historic homes and raised money for shower stalls in the Beaufort High School gymnasium.
In the 1960s the club spearheaded the design of the Beaufort Town Seal, which is still in use today. In 1972 the club designed and presented the current Beaufort town flag design to the town. Beaufort flag sales are an important fundraising source for the Beaufort Woman’s Club.
In the 1970s and 1980s the club supported the passage of the bond referendum that led to the transformation of the Beaufort waterfront. Members also lobbied for recycling in Beaufort and distributed green bins to residents in 1992.
The club raised $200,000 to restore the historic 1907 train depot in 1996. The depot is now used for Beaufort and Carteret County government meetings.
From 2005 to 2010 the club held numerous events to raise $123,000 to relocate the Ward-Hancock House, believed to be the Customs House when Beaufort was first designated as a Port of Entry in the 1700s. The club presented the house to the N.C. Maritime Museum in 2010.
The club supported the Good Samaritan School in Beaufort, Haiti from 2012 to 2015, and contributed nearly $9,000 in 2013 and 2014 to help restore the circa 1821 Purvis Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, Beaufort’s oldest church.
The club began holding an annual arts competition for Carteret County high school art students in 2014, with winners receiving ribbons, recognition and cash awards.
Through its “Do’s and Don’ts Charity Fashion Shows” in 2015, 2017 and 2018 the club raised a total of more than $28,000 to support families and children. Show proceeds helped groups such as Family Promise, The Bridge Downeast, Backpack Blessings, Peer Recovery Center and the Carteret Community Theatre Summer Camp.
To highlight the great food and chefs in our community, the club hosted “Taste the World” fundraisers in 2018 and 2019 to support the Carteret Community College Culinary School and other groups.
The woman’s club held Beaufort’s first-ever Craftsman Style Architecture Tour in 2019, featuring 10 homes and the train depot. The one-day tour drew 600 visitors and allowed the club to award a total of nearly $23,000 in grants to the Beaufort Boys & Girls Club, the Carteret Community Theatre and the MirIAM drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.
“Our mission is the serve others in need – while having fun and meeting new friends,” said Rodholm. “We greet our 100th birthday with the confidence that the Beaufort Woman’s Club will continue to make a positive difference over the next 100 years.”
Beaufort Woman’s Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (#26-3442067). For more information, visit us on Facebook and at www.beaufortwomansclub.com.