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Not only has the Woman’s Club of Monticello been active since 1893, it has been quite relevant during that time period, presenting information on women’s rights in the late 1800’s, helping to found the Allerton Public Library, donating blood and volunteering with the USO at Chanute Air Force Base during World War II, and giving to causes like the Piatt County Toy and Gift Program and Piatt County Museum.
It’s easy to see why the organization earned the Honorary Achievement Award from the Monticello Chamber of Commerce at its annual dinner Nov. 13.
After having worked together as the Columbian Club to promote the 1892 World’s Fair, the group of 15 ladies organized in 1893 as the Woman’s Club – and has been going strong ever since.
“That’s staying power,” said Chamber President Mike Atwood upon reading the group’s achievements at the Chamber banquet, held at the Allerton Park and Retreat Center.
“They have been really an impactful group for a long, long time and has been a tremendous asset to Monticello over the years,” he added.
It’s always been a group of thinkers, and from its first days in existence presented lengthy papers on social, political and economic topics, including women’s rights.
That intellect was harnessed as the Woman’s Club took on its most ambitious project – the formation of the Allerton Public Library in 1897. Along with the generosity of the Allerton family, the group organized a stock company and sold shares to help raise funds for the cause.
Over the years they have also worked to provide free health clinics and meals for school children during the Depression, while continuing to study arts, literature, music, history and government. Other projects have included the donation of trees at local parks, and to this day they donate to several organizations, including the toy and gift program, Faith in Action, the Piatt County Museum, Peace Meals and the Reading is Fundamental Program.
In accepting the award, Past President Lila Miller was subdued and brief in her response.
“This is very nice. We’re really grateful for being honored for this achievement. This is just marvelous,” said Miller.