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Raise the Roof Campaign

Five (5) years ago, the Woman’s Club of Erie began a gradual repair and replacement program on the roof of their 118-year-old clubhouse, the former Davenport and Winifred Galbraith mansion located at 259 West Sixth Street.  The mansion was built at a cost of $60,000.00.  Located in the historical area on Sixth Street between Perry Square and Gridley Park, it was selected and given historic register significance in September 1984.

Northwest Restoration, Inc.  was hired and has been repairing the channels and internal gutters (that run in the eaves), and replacing missing or broken red slate tiles.  The red slate tiles are harder and more durable than the more commonly used gray slate, thus more expensive.

To date, the north facing section of the roof has been completed and 80% of the eastern side at a cost of $40,000.00.  To complete the remaining southern and western portions of the roof estimated at $60,000.00, the Woman’s Club of Erie has initiated a “Raise the Roof Campaign.”  To date, $7,478.00 has been raised through events and donations.  Anyone interested in contributing to the Raise the Roof Campaign can send their tax deductible donation made payable to The Woman’s Club of Erie to:

The Woman’s Club of Erie
259 West Sixth Street
Erie, Pennsylvania  16507
 

A cardboard miniature of the mansion created by Steve Giewont and decorated by Lainie Addessi is on display and available to receive roof donations.  Individuals can sign a paper tile and adhere it to the roof of the miniature.

Cardboard House

A Brief History of the Organization

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) is an international women’s organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service. GFWC members are in every state and more than a dozen countries. Their goal is to promote civic involvement in their communities, advancing education as well as preservation of the arts and culture all the while promoting healthy lifestyles.

The GFWC owes its beginnings to Jane Cunningham Croly, a professional journalist who in 1890, due to her gender, was denied admittance to a dinner at an all-male press club honoring Charles Dickens.  This spurred her to form the famous women’s club, Sorosis – a “centre of unity” that had neither a charitable nor socio-economic purpose, but sought “collective elevation and advancement.” As women’s clubs began forming across the country, they became a center of educational advocacy and a sort of college for older women who wanted to learn.  Croly formed the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1890, to support clubs throughout the nation and further their efforts at providing education, improved working conditions, health care, scholarships and other reforms.

Today the GFWC boasts over 100,000 members.

Among the many accomplishments of the GFWC are:

  • Founding more than 75 percent of our nation’s libraries
  • Developing Kindergarten programs in public schools
  • Working for food and drug regulation
  • Leading the drive for emergency relief support for efforts from World War I

The Woman’s Club of Erie is a 501c3 philanthropic organization that aims, through its various fund raisers, dinner and speaker series, to improve the lives of women and children in the Erie community.

The Woman’s Club of Erie began in 1897 and was federated in 1898. Since its beginnings, the organization has been a champion  to numerous civic causes in the Erie community, i.e., the  founding of the Visiting Nurses Association,  donating to the Juvenile Diabetes foundation and Safe Net–a temporary shelter for abused and displaced women and their children–just to name a few. The mansion, purchased in 1925 from the estate of the original owners–Davenport and Winifred Galbraith–is currently utilized as a meeting place for members.