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[photograph]
Central covered entrance porch of the Women's Civic Improvement Clubhouse
Photograph by Terry Skibby

The Ashland Women's Civic Improvement Club was founded in 1908 for the purpose of improving and beautifying Ashland. The home for this civic organization was built from 1921 to 1922, and was later known as the Winburn Way Community Center. The Civic Club, instrumental in obtaining additional land for Lithia Park and in supporting Ashland's Fourth of July parades, always saw its role as promoting civic pride (and incidentally boosting tourism by providing a place to welcome women visitors to town). The work of Ashland's Civic Club was typical of these progressive era groups around the country. Raising funds to build a clubhouse was not easy and it was only through the philanthropy of Jesse Winburn (for whom the building was later named) that the club ladies found the funds to erect their Arts and Crafts bungalow, with a central covered entrance porch.

[photograph]
Women's Civic Improvement Clubhouse c.1923
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection

After the formal dedication of the clubhouse it was used for meetings, banquets, shows and tourist events until it became a USO headquarters during World War II. After the War it served as the home of the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department for a number of years. The building became quite run down, and in 1985 the City of Ashland took control of the property, which was restored and rededicated to its original use for local club meetings, dances, exhibitions and presentations. Thus, it continues to contribute to the original ideals of its founders.

The Women's Civic Improvement Clubhouse, now the Ashland Community Center, located across from Lithia Park at 59 Winburn Way, is open to the public as a meeting space, and is also available for private rental for a nominal fee. Call 541-488-0231 for further information.

 

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