We mostly don’t look it, but members of the Texas City Civic Club are celebrating their 100th birthday next Monday.

It hasn’t been all teacakes and white gloves.

The whole thing began because the ladies of the community were tired of cattle roaming loose around the streets of our fair city.

A group of 28 women got organized on April 4, 1913. The first act was to circulate a petition asking for an election to allow, or not allow, the town to be an open range for cattle.

The men of the town said it could not be done, but the people voted to have a stock law — by an overwhelming majority.

The next campaign had to do with beautifying the city. Trees and shrubs were almost nonexistent on this bald prairie. So hundreds were bought and planted.

When you have beauty, next comes a park, and the Terminal Railroad Company gave permission for one at Ninth Avenue and Tenth Street. The club established a small nursery to raise and distribute free trees and oleanders to the citizens.

After the 1915 hurricane, members of the club, asked by the city commission, sought out those who needed help and distributed groceries and clothing to those who needed them.

When World War I began, the club was an authorized unit of the American Red Cross. They mainly made surgical dressings. They also held dances and food sales to raise money for the Red Cross.

They disbanded regular meetings during the war and reorganized when the war was over.

That’s when they got busy on plans for a library, which had long been in their thoughts. They got permission to use a big room at the Southern Hotel, a city landmark at the corner of Texas Avenue and Third Street.

The ladies solicited books, magazines and donations and soon lots of men could be seen in the evenings reading and playing cards or dominoes. (A local reading room for seamen still exists.)

The city was growing, opening a new municipal building on Sixth Street in 1928. There the club located a room for the library and the city took over payment of the librarian’s salary.

Col H.B. Moore donated beautiful solid oak furniture for use in the library, which eventually came to its Ninth Avenue location and was named for Col. Moore.

The club meets in “its” library through the fall and winter, hearing interesting programs every month and enjoying fabulous refreshments from its hostesses.

In addition to the library, members support other worthy local causes.

It’s the longest established women’s club in the county.

And no longer do they have to worry about cattle running loose about the town.

Cathy Gillentine is a columnist for the Daily News and can be reached at cgillentine1@sbcglobal.net.

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