“And your young men shall see visions…” Part VIII


As in the past few weeks, The Vagabond has been discussing about a pamphlet written by the Gadsden Women’s Club called A Little Book about Gadsden, which tells about the early periods of the Gadsden area. It continues….

“In Memoriam, William Luther Sibert, One Of Gadsden’s Illustrious Sons, Born October 12, 1860; Died October 16, 1935.       

“The career of General Sibert encompassed the building of the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal; service as Chief Engineer of Chemical Warfare in the World War [I]; conservation engineering and bridge building on Chinese and American Rivers; heading of Boulder Dam Commission; and fittingly closed with service to his native state as Chief Engineer of the Alabama State Dock Commission. 

“In 1937, a permanent thirteen cent stamp was issued in his honor by the United States Government. Sibert was decorated by his own and by the French government. His country interred his body in Arlington Cemetery. His friends enshrine his memory in their hearts.

Fraternal Orders

“Gadsden Masonic Lodge No. 236 A.F.& A.M. received its charter December 7, 1881. Coosa Chapter No. 86 has been active since February 18, 1886. Gadsden Coun-cil No. 56, Royal and Select Masters was given a charter in 1866. Etowah Commandery No. 15 received its charter during the year of 1890. Queen City Chapter-Order Eastern Star No. 135 was organized September 9, 1912. 

“The present Apollo Lodge No. 151 of the I.O.O.F. is the outgrowth of the General Forrest Lodge established in the spring of 1888. Objective: to visit the sick, to relieve the distressed, to bury the dead and to educate the orphans. 

“Helen Rebekah Lodge No. 30, an auxiliary of the I.O.O.F., was organized May 9, 1917. Objective: to promote the social welfare of the families of this order. 

“Woodmen of the World have been active in Gadsden since June 10, 1890. This organization is active in welfare work and helps in the maintenance of tuberculosis hospitals. 

“The Junior Order of United American Mechanics, a national organization, formed a local branch [on] April 4, 1911. Motto: America for Americans. Projects: restricted immigration and contributions to orphans’ homes. 

“The local chapter of the International Lodge of B’Nai Brith was organized in 1913. This is a Jewish non-secret society that combines patriotism with philanthropy. It supports many non-sectarian hospitals and children’s homes and fosters the Hillel Foundation, chapters of which are in all important universities.The Hillel Foundation is designed to help Jewish college students to solve their many problems. There is a chapter of this organization at the University of Alabama.”

Cultural Clubs “Culture is the pulse of progress”

“The Embroidery Circle, the oldest club in Gadsden, was organized on February 20, 1896. Its object is the promotion of social intercourse, needlecraft, music and the appreciation of literature.

“The Thursday Study Club dates back to 1897. It is unique in the cultural life of Gadsden because its early activities combined earnest civic work with a study program. This club established the circulating library, out of which grew our fine public library. The club rented a room in the business section and for one year gave unselfishly of its time to this project. The club has contributed to the library every year since its founding. The club also sponsored the first Better Babies Week. In later years, this club has confined its work to the study of current literature. 

“The Inter Se Circle began in 1904.The object of this club is the promotion of social intercourse, charitable endeavor and occasional literary activity. 

“The Women’s Book Club was organized in 1910 by a group of women socially and intellectually congenial. The club was formed for the purpose of the enjoyment and increased appreciation of literature and the arts. Throughout the years, the book club has remained a source of infinite pleasure to its members, who believe with St. Augustine that ‘the way of escape from the tyranny of circumstances is spiritual and intellectual.’ 

“The Belles Lettres Club was organized in the fall of the year 1922 by a group of young women for the purpose of reading and discussing current literature.

“The Book Review Club was formed in September, 1924. Starting out with the serious study of Wells’ Outline of History, the club’s work later embraced lighter literature, outstanding novels, travel books, biography and scientific works. 

“The Panoramic Book Club was organized in the fall of 1934 for the purpose of the study and reviewing of current literature. 

“The American Association of University Women is an educational organization composed of college graduates. The Gadsden branch was founded October 27, 1936. Its purpose is to maintain high standards in study and to provide intellectual stimulus and growth for its members and the community. 

“The Wednesday Book Club was organized in September 1937, when a group of women with similar tastes and ideas formed themselves into a club for the purpose of reading, analyzing and discussing books of current interest. 

“The purpose of the Rembrandt Art Club, organized in February 1938, is to foster knowledge and appreciation of the arts, both historic and modern.”

Music Clubs – “I am in my house of music and have the key”

“A small group of musicians met at the [Gadsden] Public Library in the fall of 1914 and organized the Music Study Club. Since that time, the club has been a force in the cultural life of Gadsden. In September 1938, the Gadsden Music Study Club and the Phi-lomel Club will merge, making a greater and better organization for the musical development of the city. 

“The Philomel Club was founded and federated in 1930. It is interested in all phases of this cultural art. It has organized two junior clubs – the Chaminade and the Beethoven.  The Chaminade Music Club, named in honor of Cecile Charninade, was organized in March of 1932 with the idea of promoting musical appreciation in young people. Motto: ‘Use what talent you possess, for the woods would be silent if no bird sang but those who sing best.’ The Juvenile Beethoven Music Club, sponsored by the Philomel Club, was organized in 1932. Motto:  ‘Music is a higher manifestation than all wisdom and philosophy.” (Beethoven)

“The Handel Choral Club began August 18, 1936. With a membership of earnest musicians, this organization has taken great strides towards a deeper appreciation of the masters. 

“The Junior Philomel Club was started in September of 1936 to promote a greater interest in music among the young people. Motto: ‘Music is the real universal speech of mankind.’ (Weber) 

“The Mozart Music Club (Junior) was organized in April, 1937. Motto: ‘Rowing, not drifting.’

“The Bilbro Music Club was organized in February, 1938. Motto: ‘Strive to learn better music day by day.’

“The 167th Infantry Band was organized in January, 1921. 

“For three years the Gadsden Cooperative Music Association has functioned successfully, bringing artists of note to Gadsden. 

“Gadsden has 18 private music teachers with several hundred pupils who study piano, organ, voice and stringed and band instruments. 

The Frank Jones School of the Dance, based on the art of music, flourishes each season at the Printup Hotel. 

“We are not only listening to but studying and making music. There are 350 children ranging from the fifth grade through the high school daily being taught to take their places in the three band units. We see the future Gadsden ‘go singing to its destiny.’

Garden Club ‘Who loves a garden still keeps his Eden”

“The first garden club in America was organized on March 6, 1847, in a little town in the Black Belt region of Alabama. It is no longer in existence and was called Chunnenuggee, an Indian name meaning  ‘high bluff.’ It was situated in Bullock County near Union Springs. 

“Almost a hundred years later, in May, 1930, the Garden Club of Gadsden was organized. Through its efforts, unsightly backyards have been reclaimed and many lovely gardens created. As part of the club’s civic work, parks and public grounds have been improved and landscaped. In 1933, the [Gadsden] City Commission, at the suggestion of the  Garden Club, chose the Iris, named for the Goddess of the  Rainbow, as Gadsden’s official flower.         

“A garden is a lovesome

Thing, God wot!

Rose plot,

Fringed pool,

Fern’d grot —

The veriest school

Of peace; and yet the fool

Contends that God is not—

Not God! in gardens! when

The eve is cool?

Nay but I have a sign;

“This very sure God

Walks in mine.”

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