Congratulations to members past and present of the Zonta Club of Lockport. We salute and recognize your club as one of the 10 oldest Zonta clubs.
In this our centennial biennium, your club receives the Centennial Membership Recognition from the Zonta International Board and the International Membership Committee. We wish to extend our appreciation to you all and are very pleased to recognize your contribution, which ultimately helps Zonta carry out its mission in your local community and the world these past 100 years.
We have advised the governor of your district of this recognition.
Again, your effort in helping Zonta grow to the organization it is today has been amazing this biennium and we offer you ‘virtual’ applause and big thank you since we could not be together at a Convention to make this recognition.
(click on the link above for the online version of the article)
Article released August 22, 2020
Written by John D'Onofrio
You can't miss the Lockport Zonta Club.
They're in those beautiful flowers you drive by every day, glancing at and probably admiring.
They're in the food and gifts handed out over the last holiday season to those less fortunate than ourselves.
They're in the medical equipment you need at Eastern Niagara Hospital.
They're in that house built by Habitat For Humanity.
They're in that kitchen that taught you how to cook.
They're in those who've gone to college through the aid of a scholarship.
And most especially, they're in those beautiful women who make the club possible and viable in the community.
The Lockport chapter of Zonta — a Sioux Indian word that means “honest and trustworthy” — was recently recognized as one of the 10 oldest Zonta clubs in the world.
On Nov. 5, the all-women club will be celebrating its 100th anniversary as a chapter virtually.
Zonta Club president Carol Spedding said the Lockport chapter currently has 26 members. They meet on the second Tuesday of each month, normally at Lockport Town & Country Club, but since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, they've been meeting at Day Road Park.
Zonta International was founded in 1919, at the height of the woman's suffrage movement. The club's goal was to foster education and advocate for women.
“We've raised funds for Youth Mentoring Services, the Salvation Army, Dale Association, YWCA — you name it,” Spedding says of the Lockport chapter.
“We raise money and donate funds towards charities and scholarships and we maintain the gardens at Locust and Washburn streets as well. I joined because I felt I wanted to give back to the community, so I got involved.”
According to past president Charlene Bower, Lockport Zonta Club was the first organization to adopt a city park.
“We adopted Ida Fritz's garden at Locust and Washburn and now there's 29 gardens over the last 25 years all across the city that began with Zonta in 1995,” Bower said.
“I'm glad I joined the club (in 1987). We've done so much good in this community and I've met so many wonderful people. This club has done a lot of good for Lockport and for the world.”
Other endeavors that Zonta has assisted include new mammography equipment for Eastern Niagara Hospital, a new training kitchen for the Dale Association, literacy programs at Lockport Public Library, and construction of a Habitat for Humanity house on Corinthia Street.
One of the more interesting aspects of the Lockport club over the years was its annual Fashion Show fundraiser, co-sponsored by Flora Hatch. Club historian Jane Wendel said modeling wasn't always the easiest volunteer work.
“Fashion shows were it,” Wendel recalls. “They'd throw all these clothes on you and say things like, ‘Jane, your arms are too short.’ We were out at the Best Western and they put us in this dressing room at one end of the hallway. We had to kick off our shoes and run down to the other end just to be on time. It was grueling.”
A major focus of the Lockport club is funding academic scholarships for women. These include a one-year scholarship for Liberal Arts study, two two-year scholarships for attendance to Niagara County Community College, a one-year scholarship for a Niagara County student who has been an active participant in the 4-H program and a two-year scholarship for a mature woman returning to college study.
The Lockport Zonta Club was established with 33 active members on Nov. 5, 1920.
Its first president, Iva Holdridge Bridge, was a charter member. Others were Araminta Adams, Emmeline Armer, Frances Barrows, Clara Bartram, Margaret Beckwith, Emma Boye, Elizabeth Carey, Olive Carter, Gertrude Culver, Janet Drake, Mabel Donner, Anna Ehrenberg, Belva Flagler Elliott, Alice Haines, Edith Harbaugh, Laura Harwood, Lucy Humphrey, Dr. Mary Hurlburt, Mabel Lanckton, Bernice Merritt, Zelma Monroe, Grace Moody, Annie Robertson, Eloise Watters Scheid, Agnes King Stoney, Eleanore Taylor, Mary Dora Taylor, Maude Burt Tully, Maude Van Horn, Chrissie Ward and Margaret Williams.
Zonta International was founded just a year earlier in Buffalo. Lockport's was the 11th Zonta Club established and, today, is the seventh "oldest" chapter still in existence. There are 1,200 chapters today in 63 countries.
The current club vice president is Donna Kleinhans, its secretary is Kelli Rae Alaimo and the treasurer is Mary Ann Bernard. Directors are Dianne Cross, Sue Mawhiney, Gretchen Powers, Adriana Rogers and Brenda Ulrich.
Past Presidents of Lockport Zonta Club got together for a photo downtown recently as the club prepares to mark its 100th anniversary in the fall.
From left are Sue Mawhiney, Dianne Crosse, current President Carol Spedding, Jane Wendel and Charlene Bower.
Dressed to the hilt in this photo from a few decades ago, four woman who took part in the annual Lockport Zonta Club Fashion Show fall fundraiser.
From left are Esther Prudden, Jane Wendel, Joan Couples Starke and Barbara Alexis.