DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — For more than a century, the Dayton Woman’s Club has helped tell the story of the impact women have made on our city.
“This to me is a Dayton gem that the community needs to come see,” said the club’s president, Margaret Kruckemeyer. “If only the walls could talk.”
The Dayton Woman’s Club is located at 225 North Ludlow Street. The house was built in the 1800s; the club dates back to 1916. It was first started with the help of John Patterson’s sister, Julia, who opened a place where women could gather, network, and improve the community.
“Many of our founding members really left their mark,” said Kruckemeyer.
For more than a century, the legacy of women’s leadership has been preserved within the walls. Every year it’s drawn in new members like Ebony Ferrell, who’s served as executive director for about a year.
“I got started because I just came to one of the events that was advertised, and I was just sucked in from there,” said Ferrell. “It just won me over.”
“What really caught my attention with that was the history of the house. So it really just jumped out at me,” said Kim Villalva.
Villalva is president-elect.
“The first project I jumped on the committee for was our dedication of our historical marker,” said Villalva. “That was pretty much my welcoming to the Dayton Woman’s Club.”
The Dayton Woman’s Club earned a historical marker in 2019 for its work in the community and impact.
“It’s a beautiful house. We have beautiful events here, but it’s the stories that come out of it,” said Villalva. “The history is here. The stories are here. The power is here. What can we do with it moving forward?”
Today the club has only around 100 members, but at one point, it had more than 1,400 members and a wait list. It needs those members, sponsorships, and donations from the community to keep going.
“We have switched over from it being more like a social club to a nonprofit. So we’re looking to do more philanthropy in the community,” said Ferrell.
The club recently received a grant that went towards new programs, and now it’s focusing on trying to do a capital campaign.
Wednesday is dine-in day for the community, and the club also holds special events and offers room rentals. All of that all helps bring in money.
While the bones of the house are good, it needs continued community support to sustain another century, preserve the house, and carry out its programs.
“We need to be the torchbearers, but I need more trailblazers that would be interested in participating,” said Kruckemeyer. “We’re really trying to empower our future generation of women to know their past, develop their value system and learn from past mistakes and let’s move on to a better future.”
Anyone can become a member, even men. Click here for a link to apply.