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February 8, 2023

Woman’s Club gets makeover

Large grant helps historic building receive paint job

WATSONVILLE—The makeup kit is out at the 1917 Watsonville Woman’s Club. 

Thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Borina Foundation and a generous bid from Prunedale’s Masters Painting, the entire building at 12 Brennan St. is getting a fresh coat of paint.

The work, which started this week, follows an extensive wood rot and termite damage repair a few months ago.

“Everybody here spoke very highly of Mike Masters and the painting work he has done,” said Woman’s Club president Janey Leonardich. “It’s going to look really nice.”

Leonardich said the club, which now features around 30 members, agreed to maintain the historical flavor of the building and continue with the dark brown trim and beige body of the structure.

“We felt it was important to keep with the same color tones,” she said. “Next we’re looking at getting some work done on our railings, general upkeep and landscaping. There’s always something to do.”

The Woman’s Club is one of Watsonville’s oldest continuously existing organizations open to women. Its clubhouse was originally built for a cost of $6,859. Although the building has been standing for more than 100 years, the club itself was established in 1899. 

In 1905, the Woman’s Club led a fundraising drive to purchase land to be used for the Carnegie Library on the corner of Union and Trafton streets. In 1912, it advocated for the purchase of land for Callaghan Park, as well as Marinovich Park in 1936, providing funds for playground equipment. 

The Tudor revival style building, which features a huge auditorium with a stage, was designed by architect Ralph Wycoff. A blue oval plaque denoting the Historical Trust Landmark is posted on the front of the building. The clubhouse hosts a number of community events through a rental program that is popular because of its “affordable rates,” according to the club.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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