Clifton Civic Improvement Society
Following the devastating fire of December 1905 that destroyed an entire block of Clifton’s downtown businesses, a small assembly of thirty-seven Clifton ladies gathered at City Hall on February 6, 1907, resolved to develop “a society to stimulate the culture of flowers and to beautify our homes and grounds.” This they indeed achieved, but their vision was only a glimpse of what they would achieve.
By April 1st membership had bloomed to forty-six women, paying annual membership dues of 40 cents each in quarterly installments; the club began preparing for their first major event. A group of Clifton businessmen, the Commercial Club, would be hosting a reception for over seventy Fort Worth businessmen of the Fort Worth Board of Trade. The Commercial Club requested that the Civic Improvement Society provide a luncheon for their guests. The ladies agreed, and a five-course luncheon was served to the congregation of 110 attendees in Reeder Hall on North Avenue D in “a flower-bedecked atmosphere sweet with the incense of full-blown roses.” The success of the event profited the club thirty-two dollars, which was designated for the “fireboys” of Clifton. More luncheons would follow.
Turkey luncheons were routinely served by the Civic Improvement Society during Clifton’s Trade Days, the food and preparation donated by the members. In June of 1907, 473 people were served in only 2 ½ hours. Flower Carnivals and Turkey Dinners provided enough funds for the club to contribute $170 to the fireboys in March 1908.
For over 115 years Clifton Civic Improvement Society has continued to provide support to the Clifton Volunteer Fire Department and to compliment the economic development of Clifton with beauty and culture. The industrious club furnished the fire department with their first truck in 1931; and, in the years that followed, provided thousands of dollars in funding and equipment. Clifton’s public library was established and operated by the club for fifty-eight years, and the organization continues to be a fundamental supporter of the Nellie Pederson Civic Library. Over the years, the society has furnished and equipped the City of Clifton with amenities to meet the needs of a burgeoning and balanced community, from office furniture and a commercial kitchen to a gazebo in City Park and a Steinway piano. The Society that was formed to beautify “our homes and gardens” has blossomed far beyond its original goal and has succeeded in beautifying the lives of Clifton’s families with security and safety; places to gather for education, entertainment, and civil service; opportunities for groups and individuals to grow and prosper; and a legacy of service, generosity, hospitality, and grace.
The group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at the Clifton Civic Center located at 403 West Third Street in Clifton. For more information on Clifton Civic Improvement Society, please contact President Pat Mitchell at 512.450.4882.