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York Woman’s Club Better Than Ever After 90 Years

The Woman’s Club of York (yes, it is Woman’s not Women’s) is rededicating its refurbished home this week. The club, in the 200 block of East Market Street, is celebrating its recovery from a disastrous fire a little over six months ago. The club was originally dedicated 90 years ago this week.
While researching the previous owner of the house, Civil War pension attorney Hugh Whiteford McCall, for a York Sunday News column, I became intrigued with the high-style home. I wondered where McCall stopped and the Woman’s Club started in the fabric of the building. An article in the October 20, 1917 York Gazette, describes the Woman’s Club dedication the previous evening and answers a lot of architectural questions.
The renovations, under the direction of architect John B. Hamme, are described in detail: “The interior of the residence has been extensively remodeled, partitions have been removed and new ones have been built. The former parlor and library have been thrown into one, and a wide hall has been built from the front hall to the new assembly hall; the main staircase has been altered and a portion rebuilt. Two new toilet rooms have been placed on the second floor and a new bath room has been built on the third story for the new apartments on that floor. New parquet floors have been laid in the new parlor, portions of the dining room and the new hall to the assembly hall, and all the floors have been gone over, republished and finished.”

The description continues: “The whole interior has been done over with enamel paint or natural finishes: the hall walls have been repainted, and all rooms have been repapered. The electric wiring has been remodeled and new lighting fixtures placed in the rooms and halls. New leaded glass has been placed in the front door and the parlor and dining room windows.
The new assembly hall built at the rear of the club house is 32.6×82.6 in outside dimensions and contains, besides the assembly hall, with a seating capacity of 350 persons, a stage 16×16, three dressing rooms, and has two exits to the rear. The interior story height is 18 feet at the sides and 21 feet in the center, the ceiling being arched. The design of the interior of this hall is a dignified Georgian Renaissance.
The columns, pilasters, panels, cornice and other ornamental portions are done in white plaster of Paris, and the plain wall surfaces are finished in cream sand finish. Six large colonial windows furnish light from the west side and two similar ones from the east. Access is had to the hall through two sets of large double doors, one from the side yard. The artificial light is furnished by an indirect system, the lamps being concealed in the cornice of the ceiling.”
The present-day Woman’s Club members and building owners Eric and Jennifer Salzano are to be commended for all their preservation efforts. Here’s hoping the club has another prosperous ninety years to keep carrying on their projects to better the community and enjoying their beautifully restored home.
Click here to read about a less serious club.