Quality sister time usually involves a late night, catching up with each other, reminiscing and a bottle of wine! We did all of that in Manhattan the night before my talk.
We rolled into Waterville with plenty of time to drive around and look at some beautiful restored Queen Anne Victorian homes and gorgeous fall color. I had been to Waterville once previously to visit friends, Lyle and Ann Walter, and toured one of the homes as well as theirs.
I called Ann and asked if she had time to give us a quick tour of her antique and vintage clothing shop, “Anntie M’s Attic.” She graciously took time out of her schedule to do so. Ann has collected and studied period clothing for years and has an extensive collection of mostly women’s fashions from the 1870’s through the 1980’s, including a rare corset from the 1790’s! She gave us a delightful tour that had us “oohing” and “aahing” over her treasures! She gives programs and tours to groups, usually followed by a Victorian tea or a yummy treat from her 1950’s malt shop. Her website is http://anntiemsattic.vpweb.com/ and has contact and reservation information. I highly recommend a day trip for any women’s group!
Or, if you want to stay overnight, try the Weaver Hotel bed and breakfast, http://www.weaverhotel.com/wp/. The century-old hotel has been restored and updated. The rooms are furnished with authentic Victorian antiques and gorgeous quilts! Yes, most of the rooms have private baths—you don’t have to use a chamber pot! My sisters and I toured a few of the rooms and wished we'd spent our quality sister night there!
One building we didn’t get to tour was the Waterville Opera House. Over 100 years old, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places and the community has undertaken a massive renovation project, made possible by a 2012 Heritage Trust Fund Grant. For more information, you can go to https://www.facebook.com/WatervilleOperaHouseRenovationCommittee/. Here is a picture of the Opera House from that Facebook page.
“Our Shakespeare Club has a long and interesting history. In the beginning, 1895, the ladies organized themselves as The American Literature Club, then in 1903 The Shakespeare Club, when they actually studied and performed many Shakespearian plays. In 1917, they became a part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, an international women’s organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service. GFWC is the largest organization of volunteer women in the world. Kansas has a membership of 600 women. LIVING THE VOLUNTEER SPIRIT is the epitome of our club work. Historically, GFWC established 75% of the country’s public libraries. In 1906, our clubwomen decided Waterville needed a library and reading room so in 1907, they sent for a traveling library from Topeka. Each member paid 10 cents to defray the cost of shipping books back and forth. The library was housed in a store, then later in the basement of City Hall, and since 1942 in the present building. Our main project continues to be The Public Library. Our club, in partnership with the City and the North Central Kansas Libraries, maintains and runs the Library. The Shakespeare Club, adhering to its original motto, “With all thy getting, get understanding,” has programs emphasizing intellectual culture and civic improvements. Some of our programs are in the areas of Home Life, Public Issues, Education, International Affairs, The Arts, Veterans, Conservation, Safety, Women’s Health Issues, Domestic Violence, and Literacy.”
This group’s community commitment is vital to keeping the spirit of Waterville alive and active.
The ladies were an enthusiastic and engaged audience, and willing to share some of their own experiences which is always fun for me! In response to my “Snake Slayer” story, one of the women told about finding a copperhead in her house. Seriously!
I’m definitely planning a return trip to Waterville to spend more time touring the town. I might even indulge in a treat at “Anntie M’s Attic” soda fountain!