Cape Gazette

Zwaanendael Club to hold open house Dec. 7 in Lewes

Women's Boutique offers handmade items, holiday foods
Dec 04, 2013

The GFWC Zwaanendael Women’s Club will host its annual open house Saturday, Dec. 7, in conjunction with The Lewes Historical Society's 40th Annual Christmas Tour.  The public is invited to the small red brick building at the corner of Savannah Road and Third Street, which was built in 1898 to house the Sussex Trust Title and Safe Deposit Company and later became the home of the Zwaanendael Women’s Club.

The warm and welcoming interior will play host to the 2013 Zwaanendael Women’s Boutique, which will offer a variety of handmade items, all donated by members. Samples of items available for sale include their signature Spearmint Trees, handmade soaps, knitted scarves, holiday ornaments, notecards, photographs and candles. Also available will be hot chocolate, homemade cookies, and soft pretzels inside, as well as hot dogs and sodas outside in back of the building.

All proceeds raised through the boutique will be used to further the club's mission which was established when the club began in 1905. Thirty women met at the bank building to organize a Lewes Chapter of the Century Club, later to become affiliated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. They called the club Zwaanendael in honor of the town’s Dutch settlement of the same name in 1631.

The bank outgrew the building, and the property was sold. The club continued to meet there, and upon the owner’s death, his widow, Virginia Mustard, deeded the property to the Zwaanendael Women’s Club for one dollar. The club has remained there for more than 100 years.

The mission of the Zwaanendael Club has always been to support the local community through volunteering time and resources to community members in need. Through its affiliation with the Delaware State Federation of Women’s Clubs and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, its reach has broadened to bring club women into communication for mutual support in promoting education, public welfare, moral values, civic issues, conservation and fine arts in the community and state.

The thousands of volunteer hours provided by the women of Zwaanendael each year have supported homeless shelters, food banks, abused women and children, displaced veterans, and local food pantries. They further education through annual scholarships given to Beebe nursing school students and Cape Henlopen High School sophomores who participate in the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Seminars each year.

They also raise funds to maintain the historic clubhouse by publishing the local Lewes Telephone Directory. To become a member or to support the club's efforts, stop by the Zwaanendael Women’s Club between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

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