By Amy Wenk
amywenk@reporternewspapers.net

Some members of the Sandy Springs Woman’s Club pose on the sitting wall at the Sandy Springs Library reading garden. From left are Lisa Gass, Barbara Nicholas, Carroll Myers, Sara Eads, Pat Robertson, club President Fran Farias, Virginia Nickerson, Anne Jewett, Linda Bain, Jane Echols Nauman and Marva Greene.

The Sandy Springs Woman’s Club, the city’s oldest civic organization, is cooking up something new.

Under the leadership of new president Fran Farias, an active community volunteer, the club has seen a recent upsurge in membership and is working on new fundraising projects.

“We’ve had our second awakening this year,” said native Sandy Springer Virginia Nickerson, member since 2003.

One of those projects was the compilation of city’s first cookbook, which offers the favorite recipes of club members and city leaders such as Mayor Eva Galambos. The cookbook will be for sale Sept. 25 and 26 at the Sandy Springs Festival.

“I hope it’s very successful in the community,” Nickerson said.

The Sandy Springs Woman’s Club has helped shape the city — and the world as members of the state and federal Women’s Clubs — since it was founded in 1948. The club focuses on six areas: arts, education, international affairs, conservation, home life and public affairs.

“We work quietly,” long-time club member Lulu Powell, 80, said with a giggle.

“I can’t begin to tell you everything we have done,” said Powell, who joined the club in 1969. “Wherever there was a need, we wanted to be part of it.”

In the late 1960s, the club led fundraising activities to establish the city’s first public library, which was located in the Hilderbrand Court shopping center on Roswell Road, Powell said.

“Sandy Springs was a rural town,” Farias said. “We didn’t have a county library.”

Farias said Woman’s Clubs across the country have been responsible for establishing 75 percent of the nation’s public libraries, developing kindergartens in public schools and working for food and drug regulations.

The Sandy Springs club also, in its early days, furnished police vests for officers and purchased washers and dryers for the city’s fire stations, Powell said. The club formed the city’s first Golden Age club for senior citizens, which dissolved after local churches formed similar clubs for their congregations, Powell said.

“This went on with everything we touched,” said Powell, an Atlanta native who grew up in the Peachtree Battle area of Buckhead. “That was the purpose, get it started and someone will take it over.”

The club, in 2002, donated a parcel of land adjacent to the Sandy Springs library on Mount Vernon Highway. Earlier this year, the property was dedicated as a reading garden through collaboration with Art Sandy Springs.

The land now features a short trail, benches and lush landscaping. The club continues to sell bricks, which Farias said allow people “to leave their footprint in Sandy Springs,” for the sitting wall that snakes around the the reading garden.

“Please take your lunch. Go and sit,” Farias said. “It’s wonderful place among the trees.”

The club also recently held an art poster contest at Sandy Springs and Ridgeview middle schools. Each year, the club sponsors rising seniors from Riverwood International Charter School and North Springs Charter High School to the Girl State program, which teaches girls about government.

Other recent activities include teaching financial classes at North Springs and donating educational books to Spalding Drive Elementary School in Sandy Springs.

“You don’t want to see something like [the Woman’s Club] die because it has been in the community so long,” Powell said. “This one came to stay, I hope.”

For more information about the club, visit www.sandyspringswomensclub.org.

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