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A view of the two front parlors of the historic Dayton Woman's Club.

Featured Article

All Are Welcome

The Dayton Woman’s Club opened its doors in 1916 and still invites everyone to lunch.

Article by Nan Paraskevopoulos

Photography by Austin + Shilo Creative

Originally published in Centerville Lifestyle

Established in 1916, the Dayton Woman's Club (DWC) has been a beacon of empowerment and community for over a century. From its humble beginnings rooted in social and literary pursuits to its present-day mission of fostering collaboration, education and inclusivity, the club's journey reflects the evolving landscape of women's roles in society and the spirit of tireless community service.

Evolution of Mission and Vision

At its inception, the club was envisioned as a space where women could gather for social, civic, and literary activities. Over time, its mission expanded to encompass a broader commitment to empowering women and strengthening the community through historical preservation, public engagement, cultural activities and educational programs.

One significant shift in the club's mission was its transition from a 501(c)(7) club for women to a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization open to both women and men. This change reflects a renewed focus on inclusivity and diversity, mirroring the club's original ethos of providing a platform for women's voices while embracing the contributions of all members of the community.

As current Vice President Kim Villalva reflects, “Through the years we've been the place for women to come to to connect and to break out of cultural barriers. We feel that we are honoring those who came before us by continuing to provide opportunities for connection, learning and growth.”

A Legacy of Leadership and Empowerment

From its earliest days, the Dayton Woman's Club has been home to women who made significant contributions to society by promoting women's rights, education and civic and cultural engagement. Figures like Electra C. Doren, suffragist, library director and innovator and Julia Shaw Patterson Carnell who co-founded the Dayton NAACP and helped establish the Dayton Art Institute. Another member, Katharine Wright Haskell, was a suffragist, educator and PR manager for her famous aviator brothers. 

Designated with an Ohio Historical Marker, the importance of preserving the club's historic building cannot be overstated. As a physical embodiment of the club's rich history and heritage, the building serves as a constant reminder of the women who came before and the legacy they have left behind. By maintaining this space, the club ensures that future generations will continue to benefit from its resources and opportunities for growth.

Fostering Collaboration and Connection

Its role as a meeting place that fosters community engagement is central to the club's mission. By opening its doors to local groups and organizations, the club provides a space for networking, idea sharing and mutual support. Through diverse programming and events, such as educational workshops, cultural presentations and discussions on leadership, the club aims to empower individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

One of the club’s long-standing sponsoring members Joey Thiel says, “For me, it has always been about relationships and new friendships. That’s why I joined and have been so thankful for that."

Looking Towards the Future

As the Dayton Woman's Club looks toward the future, its commitment to building relationships, promoting education and empowering the community remains unwavering. Through continued work with local organizations and innovative programming, the club seeks to grow its legacy while embracing the challenges and opportunities of the modern era.

The DWC hosts affordable weekly luncheons on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and is looking forward to its Mother’s Day tea on May 11. On May 23, Mollie Hauser will present a program on DWC history and its relationship with the Dayton community. All events are generally open to the public and details can be found at 

  • A view of the two front parlors of the historic Dayton Woman's Club.
  • A cozy, yet elegant corner of The DWC dining room.
  • The DWC President, Margaret Kruckemeyer.

“Through the years we've been the place for women to come to to connect and to break out of cultural barriers."