A group of Spokane women got together in 1905 and formed the Woman’s Club of Spokane. Just five years later, the women had raised enough money to build their own building on West Ninth Avenue; by 1936 they had paid off the mortgage, ensuring that they would always have a place to gather.
The beautiful brick building is still the home of the Woman’s Club of Spokane, and on Sunday the club is playing host to a girls and dolls tea, inviting area children to enjoy tea and baked goods together with their favorite doll or stuffed toy. Proceeds from the tea will go toward building maintenance.
“Why are we doing a tea? Because we know how to do a tea,” said Susan Bresnahan, vice president of the group, and chairwoman of the girls and dolls tea. “We do a tea for the Lilac Court in December, and we thought doing one for children would bring in some younger families.”
The event is intended for kindergarten age and older children, and yes, boys are welcome, too.
“Dress up in your Sunday best and bring your favorite doll or your favorite teddy,” Bresnahan said. “This is a chance for children to come and learn about the tea party tradition and have fun.”
Children will bring home a tea cup for their doll or bear.
There will be a display of American Girl dolls and Auntie’s Bookstore will set up a display of children’s books.
Today, the Woman’s Club of Spokane has about 50 members.
“We are starting to attract some younger women, too,” said Rosemary Small, who’s the house superintendant and board member. “It’s really important to us that we remain accessible to the community. I love this building, I want it to be around for another 100 years.”
The building is a source of rental income for the Woman’s Club, but it needs some updates. A 1928 expansion brought the building to 10,500 square feet. In 1953, the floor in the basement was paved, and the space there was used for a kindergarten.
“Back then, they were talking about putting a pool in the basement,” said Small, “but today I’m really glad they didn’t do that.”
The hall features a big meeting space and a smaller meeting room, both with stages, as well as a full basement with storage facilities and a kitchen. Small said the club would like to put on cooking classes especially for low-income women, but the old kitchen is not up to snuff.
“We don’t have a commercial kitchen,” Small said. “Our kitchen would need some major updates to be ready for classes.” Other ideas for new programs include a sewing lab for ordinary clothes repair.
“We are located in a beautiful low-income neighborhood and there are so many ways in which we could serve,” Small said, “but the building needs some updates.
“The whole building has really good karma, it’s so nice to share it with people,” Small said.