The Saratoga Foothill Club—since 1907


In 1907 a small group of local women from the surrounding area formed the Foothill Study Club to broaden their education and discuss community concerns. The 12 founding mothers were Miss Lyra Mills, Mrs. Flynt Mills, Miss Jennie Farwell, Mrs. ES Williams, Mrs. JT Richards, Miss Laura Richards, Mrs. HT Plant, Mrs. George Foster, Miss Ethel Foster, Mrs. JL Pendleton, Mrs. EA Norton and Miss Florence Stone.

The purpose of the club was to foster and encourage intellectual and civic activities within the Club and community, and to promote a spirit of friendliness among its members. The members, limited to 60 women included two classes of membership, active and associate. Active dues were .25 cents for and associate $1.00. Incorporated in 1914, the members changed the name to Saratoga Foothill Club.

Since its inception, club members have provided support to the community. The Foothill Club spearheaded the Santa Clara county library system, improved the landscaping in Blaney Park; supported the troops during World War I and World War II with knitted hats, gloves and socks. The clubhouse housed a small regiment during WWII.

Today's members continue to honor the original founders and their objectives with civic activities. They provide over 150 Holiday Baskets each year, maintain an active scholarship program, and organize the community’s annual Memorial Day program, as they have since 1938. The Public Lecture Series and the Art Lecture Series and monthly member programs foster and encourage intellectual activities to members as well as the community.

Meetings were originally held in homes with participants sitting on fruit boxes or pillows. As the club membership grew, meetings were held in the nearby Saratoga Inn (1912). Upon receiving a gift of land from Mrs. George Wood and Mrs. David C. Bell, the group decided to build a clubhouse.

Julia Morgan, well known local architect and a sorority sister from Berkeley of a founding member, was commissioned to design the club. Morgan was the first woman architect licensed in California. Included in the design was a projection room, which was later, used by the citizens of Saratoga to view movies. The Arts and Crafts design used redwood extensively because, as Miss Morgan noted, “it doesn’t need paint.” The National Register of Historic Places lists the Saratoga Foothill Clubhouse as (Number 81) in Santa Clara County, California.

Sources:

  1. “The Story of Wonderful Women and Their Redwood Meeting House” by Maxine McGinns
  2. “The Saratoga Foothill Club—A History” by Melita Oden et al
  3. “Saratoga’s First Hundred Years” by Florence R. Cunningham and Edited by Frances L. Fox
  4. “Old Santa Clara Valley” by Phyllis Filiberti Butler

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