Our Committment to Community Service Began in 1924!
The Wake Forest Garden Club is proud to be the longest continuing community service organization in Wake Forest. Since Susie Lanneau Powell presided over our first meeting in October of 1924, the Club has gone on to survive difficult times and to manage great achievements.
In 1926 the Club was one of the earliest garden clubs in North Carolina to become a member of the State Federation of Garden Clubs. In 1933 the Club organized a junior Garden Club and established a bird sanctuary at what is now Paschal Golf Club. During the 1940s the Club directed its efforts into decorating and furnishing the Wake Forest Community House and grounds. After Wake Forest College moved to Winston-Salem in 1956, the Club suffered a serious decline in membership. Rather than allowing the Club to wither away, longtime members rallied and kept the Club going. Not only did the Club survive the loss of the College, but was instrumental in preserving the Calvin Jones House, now home to the Wake Forest Historical Museum. Then in 2000 the Club became enamored with the Natural Gardens of Rockcliff Farm and worked to revitalize the B. W. Wells Association. In recent years the Club has planted thousands of daffodils in the N. Main Street median, furnished and maintains large decorative planters for downtown Wake Forest, participates in community projects, and maintains the Museum gardens.
Today the Wake Forest Garden Club continues our goal of community service - offering informative programs to its members, maintaining the Museum gardens, and searching out garden related projects to enhance the beauty and enjoyment of Wake Forest.
In June 1956, one month after Wake Forest College moved to Winston-Salem, a group of eleven women from the Wake Forest Garden Club decided to save the Calvin Jones House from a planned demolition. Their petition stated, in part:
“We, the undersigned chairman and committee appointed by the Wake Forest Garden Club to promote an interest toward restoring the oldest house in Wake Forest, make this appeal to all who can and will help to make this project a permanent success…. If the first administration building of Wake Forest College can be saved, we feel that it should be saved in a permanent and beautiful way, giving it all the prestige of antiquity in furniture and surroundings that would be true to the period of early days and it would require financial support.”
First known as the Calvin Jones Memorial Society, Inc., the Garden Club’s new nonprofit made plans to purchase the house, move it off campus, complete a full restoration, and then open it to the public as a museum. In direct response to their efforts, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary gave the house to the Society, and Wake Forest College donated the lot on N. Main Street.
In 1959, the nonprofit changed its name to the Wake Forest College Birthplace Society, Inc. Garden Club leaders such as Kathleen Mackie Lake, Ruth Snyder, Pauline Binkley and Carolyn Holding continued to blaze the trail— in 1963 holding a “Rock Party” to prepare the new lot for mowing, organizing the first membership drive in 1975, and collecting artifacts connected to the college to populate the Museum.
In more recent years, the Wake Forest Garden Club has contributed more to the museum than perhaps any other local civic organization. For more than 30 years we have provided regular gifts of funds for the benefit of the Museum and gardens as well as volunteer hours to maintain the Museum gardens. In return, the Museum has generously provided space for our meetings and has been the beautifully appropriate setting for our annual Mad Hatters Tea.