The Ashton Heights Women’s Club originally started as a sewing circle that met near the Clarendon area in 1923.
It only took a year for membership to increase so much that the members decided to establish a women’s club instead. Since there were 35 charter members of the club, the women decided they needed a permanent meeting place, and went to local real estate developer Ashton Jones. Jones not only provided a lot on N. Irving Street, near Pershing Drive, but also helped obtain a loan to purchase the lot and build a clubhouse. To show their appreciation, the new club named themselves after Jones and “his” neighborhood, becoming the Ashton Heights Women’s Club.
Over the years, the Ashton Heights Women’s Club gained recognition for their work in the community. They organized bake sales, pot-luck dinners and garage sales, and let local youth and church groups hold dances and socials in their building. They also sponsored youth scholarships.
In 1927, the club joined other women’s clubs in the county to form the Federation of Women’s Clubs of Arlington County, which later was affiliated with the Virginia Federation of Women’s Clubs and the national General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Scrapbook contests, where individual clubs created scrapbooks covering their activities in a given year, were sponsored by all three federations. The scrapbook above is for the 1940-1941 club year, and has a watercolor drawing of the clubhouse on the cover.
In 2005, the club, down to a handful of older members, disbanded and sold their property on N. Irving Street. Their scrapbooks and other records were donated to the Arlington Community Archives, along with a generous monetary donation to preserve ten of their scrapbooks. The scrapbooks selected for preservation all have hand-decorated pages and fancy lettering, making these scrapbooks not just chronicles of the Ashton Heights Women’s Club’s activities, but beautiful artifacts in their own right.
What About You?
Were you or someone you know a member of the Ashton Heights Women’s Club? Did you attend any of their events? What about other local women’s clubs? Let us know what you remember!