High Tea and Book Commemorate a Century of Service
Gladys Kerr was born and raised in Waxhaw. “I’ve loved it since I was old enough to know where I was,” she said.
Kerr’s mother was a member of the Waxhaw Woman’s Club, and she has been a member since the 1960s, serving as president and on various committees. As the current chair of the club’s Historical Committee and given her knowledge of the town and the club, it seems fitting the group chose Kerr to pen a book honoring its upcoming 100th anniversary on Friday, March 11.
Rather than just collect records, “I wanted to write a story that was exciting to read even if you’d never set foot in Waxhaw,” Kerr recalled recently. The Historical Committee agreed, and she spent the past year interviewing past and current club members and even her former fifth-grade teacher, Lois Collins Sims. Sims’ father, was a former Waxhaw mayor, and the teacher wrote her own historical account years ago.
The title for the 100th anniversary book, “Crossing the Street,” came to Kerr in the middle of the night and aptly describes the club’s 2007 move from its former building to its current location directly across the street at the former Belk Building in downtown Waxhaw.
The Waxhaw Woman’s Club has continued to strive toward the service goals outlined in 1911 by its founders, a group of women who met at Maggie Davis’ Milliner shop. Concerned for the welfare of their town and its citizens, the women worked to keep Waxhaw safe and clean, preserve the region’s historical heritage and, with town officials, participate in “worthy undertakings,” according to its website, waxhawwomansclub.org.
In their first undertaking and calling themselves the Civic League, the women successfully petitioned the mayor and town council to stop sales of bootleg liquor. Then, the group advocated for women’s right to vote, organized vaccinations for community children and made bandages for soldiers in World War I.
By 1923, the Civic League had evolved into the Waxhaw Woman’s Club, and members worked diligently to support troops overseas during World War II. From its inception, the group has supported Waxhaw Elementary School and the town’s library, housed for a time inside the club’s building.
Today, the Waxhaw Woman’s Club continues to support causes close to its heart. It has established academic scholarships for women at Parkwood High School, Pfeiffer College and Wingate University, provided funds to Turning Point’s domestic violence shelter, Hospice of Union County and other organizations and organized everything from blood drives to candidate forums.
Today, the club’s building serves as a hospitality location for important town heritage events like Veteran’s Day and the Fourth of July.
To commemorate its 100th anniversary, the Waxhaw Woman’s Club is hosting an invitation-only high tea at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at its building at 200 E. South Main St. The group issued almost 100 invitations, reaching out to “ladies of leadership,” Gov. Bev Perdue and other women holding elected offices.
Kerr’s book will be available for purchase during the tea. In addition, the Waxhaw Antique Mart at 101 E. South Main Street, and the Heritage Room at 300 N. Main St. in Monroe are selling copies for $25. All proceeds go to charity, Kerr said, and more than 50 copies have sold.
Those interested in purchasing a copy should call Kerr at 704-282-7274.