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Chatsworth Women's Club Turned 90 on Valentine's Day

'Bite off more than you can chew, and chew it; plan more than you can do, and do it, hitch your wagon to a star; sit tight, and there you are!'

The ladies of the Chatsworth Women’s Club are celebrating its 90th year. It was founded on Valentine's Day, 1921.

Members plan a luncheon and program on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at the Mobile Home Park , 21500 Lassen St., near the railroad tracks. One of the oldest groups in the community, the club has contributed much to making Chatsworth an attractive place to live.

Mrs. Beverly Wright, president, has arranged for  “An Afternoon with America’s First Ladies” program presented by Walter Ostromecki.

“Ladybird” Johnson called Ostromecki “Mr. First Lady “ back in 1986 when Ostromecki was part of  the opening events at the LBJ Library.

There are little tidbits of history that have been gleaned from the club secretary’s minute book.  For instance the club was started on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1921 when Mrs. Grace Hageman Armstrong invited 24 of her friends and neighbors to gather at her home.

The new group chose a name, The Woman’s Community Club of Chatsworth, and the purpose was to plan events that improved life in the community. They wrote a constitution, chose the colors pink and green for all their events, and agreed on a motto. The motto was more like a poem but it was very easy to remember because it rhymed.

“Bite off more than you can chew, and chew it; plan more than you can do, and do it, hitch your wagon to a star; sit tight, and there you are!”

At the same meeting they also decided that it would be a good idea to have a luncheon at each meeting for 50-cents per plate to cover expenses with the balance  going into the club’s treasury.  That particular idea was carried out for a good number of years and became a very successful fundraiser, especially because the area was a farm community and most people had produce and chickens to donate.

At first the group met in each other’s homes and later they met in public places such as the school, a community building and eventually the club owned a half interest in a building they shared with the local Rotary.

During that first year, members did much needlework, sewing for the Red Cross, for needy families, and for the McKinley Home for Boys located in Van Nuys.  The women also did “fancywork” for their “Vanity Fair” where they competed for prizes by making especially complicated embroidered dish towels and other household linens.

The women enjoyed music at their programs and “high-jinks” as they performed for the group’s entertainment.  Many of their children performed at the meetings. Club members also worked with veterans and veteran’s families by traveling “over the hill” to the wards at the Sawtelle Veteran’s Hospital in the Wilshire District of Los Angeles. They also distributed jams and jellies made from the fruit grown in Chatsworth.

Later in 1922 the club became part of the Federation of Women’s Clubs and in 1924 the group broke ground for the very first club building when the Lombardi building was built on Devonshire Street at Owensmouth Avenue. The building was later torn down.

Over the years the Chatsworth Club has continued to work for veterans and veterans' families, formed a reading club, enjoyed music and invited many young singers to perform. 

For the past 90 years, The Chatsworth Women's Club has worked to improve the community by using the power of their membership to work for improvement of the streets, requesting signals and stop signs,  and supporting the library, youth groups, and schools.

Tickets for the 90th birthday celebration are available from members and the public is invited to come and help  celebrate the event. Tickets are $16 and reservations are being taken at 818-341-8845.  Social hour is 10 a.m. with a general meeting at 11 a.m. The club can also be reached at P.O. Box 3554, Chatsworth, CA 91313.

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If you would like to learn more about other people and events from the past you may visit the local museum at The Homestead Acre, 10385 Shadow Oak Drive, within Chatsworth Park South at the west end of Devonshire Street.  The museum is open the first Sunday of every month from 1-4 p.m.  There is no charge and plenty of free parking.

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