Woman’s Club steeped in Seal Beach history

Seal Beach Woman’s Club members in 1946.

Members of The Woman’s Club of Seal Beach are proud of its age.  The club is the longest continuously operating civic organization in the city and today the Woman’s Club boasts 80 members.

When the Woman’s Club of Seal Beach was founded, there was a small meeting held in the Washburn residence on Sept. 14, 1923.  Five officers were nominated and elected.  There were seven women who became active members.

In December, 1923, Mayor Richards came and talked to them on a very important subject of how this is the very thing their Club must work on.  They all agreed that Seal Beach being a very small city had borne a very unclean name.  Sunday dancing and a great deal of bootlegging had always drawn a disreputable class here in search of recreation.  So they planned some way to at least have Sunday dancing prohibited.

A committee was appointed to interview the city attorney as to the proper way to go about this.  A petition was drawn up and presented to the City Council.  The trustees agreed with the Club and directed the city attorney to draft an ordinance prohibiting all Sunday dancing at the dance pavilion.

Most of the dancing was held in buildings owned by the Bayside Land Co., and as the Woman’s Club were at this time holding their club meetings in the Sun Parlor located above the dance pavilion, the permission to meet there was revoked.

This is the first real big thing the Club undertook and on December 26, 1923, they were not real sure that this would become an actual accomplishment as officials of the Bayside Land Co. such as Philip A. Stanton, Isaac Lothian and Jacob Transue thought that the city trustees should not stop Sunday dancing.  It was quoted as saying,  “They are going to fight us to a finish and if they can’t run this town as it has been run for the last 7 or 8 years, they will close it up tighter than an abandoned mining camp.”

The officials of the Bayside Land Co. issued an order closing all amusements, including the Derby Roller Coaster and its concessions on the next Sunday in the Joy Zone attempting to force the issue and bring about the compromise that dancing be permitted.

Instead, the ordinance was drawn up and after being introduced and read at a regular meeting it was adopted on Jan 17,1924.  It became a real ordinance regulating public dance halls.

The Woman’s Club of Seal Beach is no longer interested in regulating Sunday dancing but is still looking for good causes, while remaining true to the vision of its founding members in terms of today’s woman.

They continue to support the cultural, civic and educational organizations of their community by fundraising activities for various schools, library, etc. and to encourage friendship among their members.  This past year they raised over $ 12,000.

To join the group, call: Judy O’Neill at 562 598-0718 or e-mail: sbch1@verizon.net.