The Civic Club was formed in 1909 to promote civic pride and foster intellectual endeavor, social fellowship and community service among its members. The club has supported many projects to benefit the Cumberland area, spearheading campaigns to provide clean water and fight tuberculosis. Members supplied milk in the schools, taught the need for sanitary practices and supported music education. They supported the first scholarship to what is now Frostburg State University and a second to Allegany College. In 1918, the club was the first in the county to ship Red Cross hospital supplies to Europe. In 1936, Elizabeth Lowndes, daughter of the only Maryland governor from Allegany County, was named the third president of the club. During her tenure, the club helped to establish a Girl Scout camp, provided hot lunches for handicapped children and awarded nursing scholarships. The club continued to help more than 3,000 servicemen at the Western Maryland Station Center during World War II.
In 1955, a charter of incorporation was granted to the Woman's Civic Club and a loan secured to purchase the Jonathan Magruder House at 515 Washington St. The dream to own a clubhouse was finally realized. The county's first tourism effort, Operation Gateway, housed in the clubhouse, was founded by Isiminger, president from 1960-62. She also helped to establish the Heritage Days Festival in 1969.
More recently the Woman's Civic Club has supported the Allegany County Nursing Home for two decades with supplies and parties for the patients; paid for the training of a Seeing Eye dog; made donations to the restoration of the Western Maryland Railway Station and the Old Town Clock; and contributed to the statue of George Washington and the canal boat at Canal Place. Food donations are made each year to the food bank, and an elementary school is chosen annually to receive supplies and clothing.
The Woman's Civic Club has come to symbolize the strength and tenacity of women who serve and lead for the betterment of their community. The club looks forward to its second century by summoning fresh ideas, team spirit and hard work to promote its ideals and maintain the historic Magruder House. For information on becoming a member, call Elizabeth West, president, at (301) 722-6445.