A Brief History of
The Garden Club of Hyannis
On March 18, 1930 a group of eleven women, under the leadership of Satilla (Mrs. James) Smith, met to organize a garden club. Officers were elected and meetings were held at the members’ homes on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Dues were set at $.50, and a constitution was approved in the name of The Garden Club of Hyannis. In 1931 the group joined the Massachusetts State Federation of Garden Clubs, and in 1932 the club’s first flower show was held at the Hyannis Library.
During 1935 Arthur Shurcliff, a well known landscape architect who had designed the gardens at Williamsburg VA, presented plans for the beautification of the Hyannis Library grounds; a combined effort of volunteers from the garden club and library planted and cared for the gardens. Flower shows became an annual event, and membership continued to grow in the ‘30s so that by 1938 there were 72 year-round members and 28 summer members. Most meetings continued to be held in members’ homes, as the membership was reluctant to give up the collegiality that these meetings provided.During the 1940’s it was questioned whether the club should continue meeting during wartime, but the members decided that “nothing adds to the morale of a group as gardening, both by improvement of the grounds as well as raising food.” A Victory Garden campaign began, and the meeting teas were limited to desserts without sugar. Meetings outside of Hyannis were suspended due to the gasoline shortage, but the club continued with projects for Camp Edwards, nursing homes, and the Library.
Decorating Christmas Trees at the Cape Cod Hospital
By Oct. 1958 the club had 125 members; and was rapidly outgrowing its meeting space at the Hyannis library; in 1962 the club engaged Baldwin Hall of the Hyannis Federated Church as its regular meeting place, paying an annual rent of $100 per year. This was a period of increased activity in civic projects: the gardens at the Federated Church and the Hyannis Library and a scholarship fund was initiated. In 1973 the Club reached its peak with 172 members and a wait list of 20. The 1980’s saw a change from making favors for shut-ins and providing flowers for “Meals on Wheels’ trays to a focus on programs for young people. Members provided an after-school enrichment program for students at one of the Hyannis elementary schools to encourage interest in gardening, nature and the environment.
December of 1994 saw the first Christmas tree decorated for the Emergency Room at Cape Cod Hospital; this event continues to this day, with five trees now decorated each year at the hospital.
From 2000 to the present, the club has continued to support many civic projects: not only the Library gardens , but also maintenance of the Cobb Astro Park at Barnstable High School, Arbor Day tree plantings, Garden Therapy at the Barnstable Senior Center, an enlarged Scholarship program and donations to Heritage Museum and Gardens and Habitat for Humanity Landscape Projects. All these community efforts thrive under the enthusiastic involvement of our club members.
Cobb Astro Park at Barnstable High School
We welcome new members!
Visit our Membership Page or Contact Us for more information.