A Stone Harbor association that's a year older than the borough itself, the Women's Civic Club of Stone Harbor, is celebrating its centennial this year.
"The Women's Civic Club (of Stone Harbor) was founded in 1913, and the borough was incorporated in 1914," said Virginia Maslin, a member and past president of the club and a resident of Stone Harbor.
On June 23, the club hosted a community open house and luncheon at its clubhouse, 96th Street and the beach, to celebrate its centennial.
"We've been planning this most of the past year," said President Phyllis Childs, a resident of Cape May Court House. "We thought an open house would relate to the kind of things they did in 1913, such as have lawn parties, croquet parties, beach parties if they were here in Stone Harbor. Today, we have air conditioning, so we're not outdoors all the time, but if we didn't, we'd have had this outside, too."
An additional goal of the event was to invite people inside the clubhouse to see the space, which includes a large square room with hardwood floors, a stage and bay windows facing the beach and can be rented out for private parties. Also, they want to expose visitors the mission of the club, which is to support the needs of the borough.
"Our mission in life is to enhance life in the community, so that's just what we try to do all the time," Childs said.
The Women's Civic Club has about 140 members, with monthly meetings and luncheons and occasional community fundraisers, such as its annual card party. During its 100 years, the association has donated funds to support countless community projects, including funding the borough's pavilions, benches and tennis court. The club also opens its clubhouse for community arts and entertainment events, such as a jazz performance held there last year.
"We do a lot of good," said Membership Chairwoman Alexandra Kokonos, who has been involved with the club for 37 years. "The friendships are a bonus."
Kokonos said when the club was first formed in 1913, the women didn't have a clubhouse. Instead they met at each others' homes. They purchased the land at 96th and the beach in the early 1950s, and with the help of many community members, built the original clubhouse in 1937. When that building was destroyed in the storm of 1962, they built another clubhouse on the property in 1963.
"The borough has been trying to get this land for years," Kokonos said, "but this is ours, and we're going to try to hold onto it for as long as we can - hopefully for another 100 years."
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For more information, visit stoneharborwomenscivicclub.org.