|Columbine Club, you don’t look a day over 50! Members of the Custer County Columbine Club gathered to reminisce and celebrate their 100th birthday on Thursday, May 3.
The Columbine Club was established in April of 1918 at the home of Mrs. William Griffin at the request of Mrs. Bert A. Nelson. They intended the club to be a community service and social organization.
Much has changed in the years since its creation, but two things have remained the same: they never have any more or any less than 24 members, and they meet on the same day each month, that is the first Thursday.
Sadly, the names of the 24 original ladies in the club are unknown. They also only have copies of minutes from January, 1976 through the present.
As was true in many clubs and organizations, when there was a “vacancy,” members encouraged their daughters, sisters, or other female family members to apply.
The Columbine Club has been in service to the community in many ways in the last century. Before the new school was completed in 1924, members held a “curtain carnival,” which gave them $383 so they could buy and have installed stage curtains. Also during that same time, they bought 22 chairs for the auditorium. The club also bought a box of cigars to be presented to Mr. Doyle, “for an article in the Wet Mountain Tribune.” They have also held carnivals, bake sales, and other activities to give items to the less fortunate, donated to cancer drives, and recently, they donated to the health fair and to VALI Assisted Living.
In the Club’s Constitution, refreshments were always limited to two types of food and drinks. In minutes taken in September, 1977, secretary, Ginny Kness stated that, “cream puffs with chocolate filling were enjoyed by all-minus the calories.” Refreshments were always served on china, including tea cups and flatware. If one was the hostess for said month, she was also responsible for table favors for each guest.
In the 1950s, the Club began meeting in the Community Room on Main Street, Westcliffe, and occasionally met in alternative places. for example, in fall of 1994, the Columbine Club met at the Rainbow Room, which we now know as the dance studio across from Custer County School, when the West Custer County Library was holding a craft fair at the time. In mid-2003, they sold the Community Room to the library for $1. They asked that the room be named after Dorothea Tinkham, in honor of the lady that gave the building to the community.
Present members were treated to an elegant luncheon complete with lovely salads, chocolate covered strawberries, and a birthday cake, of course! All served beautifully on fine china. Paulie Canda said it all when she frequently exclaimed, “isn’t this so lovely?!”
The Columbine Club has a very interesting and rich history. Its members have served our community, played cards, and sipped tea, and formed a strong sisterhood that few have been privy to. Happy Birthday, ladies! Here’s to your next 100.
– Tracy Ballard