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Area women's clubs earn first, second in state competition

RICHMOND, INDIANA — January 13, 2009—Two area clubs brought home high honors in an Indiana Federation of Clubs competition.

Each entry was part of the Community Improvement Contest sponsored annually by the General Federation of Women's Clubs, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Each club's entries to the Indiana Federation of Clubs included scrapbooks that detailed the projects.

Earning first place on the state level and submission in the national contest was the GFWC Fayette County ESO Club of Connersville.

The club's project, under the direction of club president Patricia "Tric" Heepe, was raising money for the restoration of a once hand-painted ceiling in the 1849 Fayette County Courthouse. The group sold note cards featuring portions of the ceiling that was rediscovered in October 2005.

All income from the cards was donated to the Fayette County Foundation, which was collecting money to pay for the expected $84,000 cost of the ceiling's restoration.

Second place in the state contest was awarded to the Woman's History Club of Hagerstown. The club's project was to make a DVD using slides from 1976 that were taken for the national bicentennial and that featured the Hagerstown area and people.

Club member JoClaire Smith took most of the original slide photographs in 1976 and member Kathryn Underhill wrote most of the original script, about the life and times of small-town America during the Bicentennial.

Marke Media of Hagerstown transferred the slides onto a DVD and updated the script, which is narrated by club member Suanna Abbott. Music was added and the final product, "Portrait of Hagerstown -- 1976," premiered at the town's 175th anniversary in October 2007 before about 150 people at the McCullough Center.

About one-third of the Hagerstown club's production costs were paid for with a $1,000 grant from the Indiana Humanities Council. More than $3,000 came from in-kind contributions.

The Hagerstown public library is the repository for the 1976 slides and also has copies of "Portrait of Hagerstown -- 1976" to check out or buy through the Friends of the Library. Copies of the DVD are in the libraries of the Hagerstown schools and museum.

The project director was Phyllis Mattheis and Donna Hunsberger was club president during the project. Wanda Campbell is now club president. The Woman's History Club was founded in 1891 and is in its 118th year.

—Rachel E. Sheeley, Pal-Item.com 

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