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Women's Club of Gulfport - History

The Women's Club of Gulfport was founded over a hundred years ago in 1915. Nineteen young women came together to promote their social, educational, domestic and philanthropic interests. On September 4, 1917 the Women's Club of Gulfport was incorporated and later that same year were federated becoming a member of the General Federation of Women's Clubs-Mississippi Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC-MFWC).

In 1929 the club purchased a vacant lot on 23rd Avenue in Gulfport south of the Markham Hotel. An existing house on the Markham Hotel property was included in the sale and moved to the newly purchased lot, painted and landscaped, all at the seller's expense. The club enjoyed the clubhouse, often sharing it with the Junior Women's Club of Gulfport until 1969 when Hurricane Camille destroyed the building and its contents. In 1972, Mr. Will Rich, a resident of the Markham Hotel and brother to a member of the Women's Club of Gulfport, became the club's benefactor, building and donating a beautiful beachfront brick home for the club on East Beach Boulevard in Gulfport and furnishing it throughout from Gulfport's prestigious Clower Furniture Company. This clubhouse was the pride of the club until tragically, in 2005 their clubhouse again fell victim to a hurricane being completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. In 2008, the club once again purchased a new clubhouse located at 3103 Gulf Avenue in Gulfport. This older home was completely renovated and served us well until 2018 when the small building would no longer accommodate our growing membership. With mixed emotions, our little home was sold in 2019. Meanwhile, St. Peter's by the Sea Church has graciously opened the doors of their Parish Hall providing us a temporary meeting place. COMING SOON! A new clubhouse has been purchased and renovation plans are are in process. We hope to be in our new home by summer 2021.

The objective of this organization was, and is still is today to promote social, educational, domestic, philanthropic interests, contribute to civic improvement and follow the ideals and goals of the GFWC-MFWC. The founders of the club referred to themselves as a "culture" club. Meetings were originally held in the afternoon followed by a formal tea. Dress included hat and gloves. In 1997 the club invited the Southern Women's Club (formerly Junior Women's Club) to join and become a part of the Women's Club of Gulfport, often referred to as the "Senior" women's club. Meeting time was moved to the morning to enable young mothers to attend while their children were in school and invited them to bring their preschoolers to the meetings. After 82 years the afternoon teas became morning coffee meetings. As the years have passed and time has evolved, the morning coffee meetings have been moved to the evening to accommodate the needs of our growing number of members employed outside the home.

23rd Avenue - 1929 to 1969

East Beach Boulevard - 1972 to 2005

3103 Gulf Avenue - 2018

St. Peter's by the Sea Parish Hall
15th Street - 2018 to Present

Coming Soon! - Our new facility
1915 Founding and Charter Members of the Women's Club of Gulfport

   Mrs. B. C. Bowen Mrs. Butcher Mrs. Margaret Carraway Mrs O. F. Cassbry Miss. Lavel Dick
   Mrs. B. E. Eaton Mrs. Bertha Everts Miss Maude Fulson Mrs. James G. Hardy Mrs. R. E. Johnson
   Mrs. J. W. Luckett Mrs. A. A. Mathais Mrs. A. S. Mitchell Mrs. Frances H. McGehee Mrs. George Poole
   Mrs. Percy Stillwell Mrs. A. O. Thompson Mrs. J. L. Taylor Mrs. J. H. Walsh

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