Our history is rich with culture, diverse in nature, and forever woven into our lives. The GFWC Naples Woman's Club is inseparable from the history of Naples, Florida and truly a part of our community. Thank you to 80+ years of Naples women graciously willing to contribute to the lives of others.
In 1932, seventeen women gathered at their first meeting place – 518 11th Avenue South – which was donated by Mrs. E.W. Crayton and Mrs. W.L. Clark. The founding president was Doris Gandees. Early meeting minutes indicate that the charter members often proposed improvements, serving as the "community redevelopment agency" of that time.
The Club's history is inextricably linked with the history of Naples. Since 1932, the club has supported the Naples community both financially and with volunteer services.
Over the years, the Naples Woman's Club stepped in and started the first Naples library, the Garden Club and a youth shelter. It also provided the first medical services to the community.
Doris Gandees 1st President Naples Woman’s Club
First meeting place for the Naples Woman's Club in 1932
Club members served Sunday night suppers at Lions’ Club to raise funds. They also provided milk to undernourished school children.
Club served in many capacities during the war years. (airplane-spotters; Red Cross volunteers and pen mothers’ to servicemen and women abroad. They organized the local USO project , turning the local railroad station into a recreation center and stocked a local first-aid emergency station.
Club served in many capacities during the war years. (airplane-spotters; Red Cross volunteers and pen mothers’ to servicemen and women abroad. They organized the local USO project , turning the local railroad station into a recreation center and stocked a local first-aid emergency station.First Teen Club dances in Naples held in the NWC Clubhouse.; and later, a Youth Recreation Program was started. The famous “loan closet” was established at this time for prostheses, wheel chairs, care of the sick and emergency help.
Club sponsored a very successful “Casino Party” at the Beach Club Hotel. Club became officially federated with Florida Federation of Woman’s Clubs and General Federation of Women’s Clubs. They sponsored a seminar and developed plans for a medical clinic; this enterprise eventually led to the founding of the Naples Community Hospital.
Lots purchased on Park Street for the future Clubhouse. Planning and preparation for the “New Building at 570 Park St.”
Construction started on the new Clubhouse – a famous block party with movie star, Gary Cooper was a highlight of the project. “Open House” was held in November.
NWC also responsible for STOP signs at inter-sections; house numbers on homes and businesses; beautification of homes and the formation of the Naples Garden Club, which had its beginnings in an NWC department which offered help for resident gardeners.
Naples Woman's Club newly completed building
1951 Construction of the Clubhouse
The first Thrift shop was opened at Four Corners (corner of 9th & 5th) with rummage sale merchandise; this was managed briefly by the newly formed Naples Junior Woman’s Club. There were also several members of NWC among the original staff of the first local Girl Scout Troop in Naples.
The first NWC nursing scholarship was awarded.
Purchased two west lots adjoining the Clubhouse; this action initiated on additional building for the Clubhouse.
The first Thrift shop was opened at Four Corners (corner of 9th & 5th) with rummage sale merchandise; this was managed briefly by the newly formed Naples Junior Woman’s Club. There were also several members of NWC among the original staff of the first local Girl Scout Troop in Naples. Architect selected and contract awarded for additional Clubhouse construction.
Naples Woman’s Club hosted the GFWC Annual State Board Meeting. 25th Anniversary Luncheon observed by Naples Club. Doris Gandees, NWC founder, started Friends of the Library by creating a reading room in the NWC Clubhouse -Club members collected 7000 books.
Thrift Shop moved into a newly purchased building at 137 10th Street North, owned and operated by NWC volunteers.
The Woman’s Club 7000 volume Library was turned over to Collier County Library Association. The local public library then moved to its Third Street South building.
The First Visiting Nurses Council was established by NWC.
The Building adjacent to the Thrift Shop was purchased for expansion of the NWC Thrift Shop.
NWC took an active interest in the support and development of “Fun Time Nursery” (day care for working mothers). Also provided new benches along 5th Ave. south.
Naples Woman’s Club observes their 35th Anniversary at their Annual President’s Luncheon. The History of the First 35 years of NWC Service to the community, “Friday’s Children” by Kathyrn Post, was published. Also, the first publication of the NWC Newsletter became a reality. A Long-range Planning Program was started and NWC picked up the tab for the First Symphony Youth Concert.
Purchase of lot south of the NWC Clubhouse for additional parking. The Clubhouse office and parlor were established.
Burning of the mortgage on Clubhouse and Thrift Shop at President’s Luncheon. Naples Woman’s Club hostess to GFWC State Board Meeting. Membership endorsed action of Executive Board for the 1970-72 . Community Improvement Program for the establishment of Youth Haven (a home for dependent children). NWC won the Parade Marshall’s trophy on their first-time entry in the Swamp Buggy Parade.
The GFWC Naples Woman’s Club is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the community through philanthropic activities and volunteer services. We have more than 250 members, meet monthly October through April, and host a variety of events throughout the year.
Our organization was formed in 1932 and since 1949, we have been a member of General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC).
Our Clubhouse is located in downtown Naples, just one-half block off the famous 5th Avenue district and approximately one mile from Naples Pier. We are currently accepting new members and invite you to join one of our meetings. The Clubhouse is also available for private rentals.