Ocean Beach Woman’s Club: Laying a new foundation
Published - 08/05/17 - 07:53 AM | 3118 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(This article is the final one in a series about the history of the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club.)

The Ocean Beach Woman’s Club has reached more than 50 percent of the floor campaign goal. This article focuses on a more recent event, historically speaking – 1997 – when a fire nearly destroyed the club’s entire building.

But first, some heartfelt thank you’s.

To the Peninsula Beacon and editor Thomas Melville, who have faithfully published our stories on page 4 over the last seven issues. We appreciate your support. Thank you!

To Steve Yeng and Steve O, San Diego, for providing a Facebook voting opportunity on Social Ocean Beach FB, which kick-started our campaign with a $2,500 donation. And to the community who voted those dollars to us! Thank you!

To The Holding Company (Steve Yeng again!), which is hosting a fundraiser on our behalf to generate the remaining funds needed for our new floors. Please join us on Thursday, Aug. 17. Tickets cost $30, include a one-hour hosted bar before the show, and 100 percent of ticket sales go directly to our campaign. There will be raffles with excellent prizes as well as great reggae music by Big Mountain. Thank you!

To the Ocean Beach Town Council, who generously included the OBWC in their grants for 2017. Thank you!

To the many of you who sent in donations, including a woman who received a scholarship from the OBWC in 1957, thank you!

We’re still shy of our goal and would greatly appreciate your support. Please visit GoFundMe at www.oceanbeachwomansclub.com. Every dollar counts!

And now, the fire!

There are more than four boxes of archival history on the fire that nearly consumed the clubhouse on Sunday, Sept. 21, 1997. It is believed the fire began when a couch, that stood over an open-grated floor furnace, caught alight. It took 20 firefighters about 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze, which charred the entire interior of the club.

“There was so much heat … fire and heat damaged the whole thing, the whole assembly area. There’s pretty extensive damage. They’ll totally have to rebuild.” (Fred Herrara, SDFD, Beacon, 9/25/97).

As we poured over our archives to create this series of articles, many of the documents and scrapbooks had burned edges, having been rescued and spared from destruction.

Deflated, but not defeated, the OBWC launched a campaign called “We Will Rise from the Ashes.” And they did! Through the support and continued charity of our giving community, the club raised enough money to completely rebuild, and hosted a community thank you event.

Following suit, we also want to thank the community for their support in our fundraising campaign. Perhaps it’s just coincidence but we will begin laying our new floors exactly 20 years after the fire. So on Thursday, Oct. 5, the OBWC will host a free community open house. Look for more information as the date approaches in both the Beacon and social media. And to those of you who have already donated, thank you! We hope to see everyone at the club to admire our new look in October.
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