A Brief History of the Lamoille Women's Club

The Lamoille Women's Club was founded in 1918 in Lamoille, Nevada. Originally named the Lamoille Homemaker's Club, it began with 15 members under the Farm Bureau and Extension Service with the mission of improving homemaking skills. As the Club grew and the world changed, the mission changed too. The LWC began to promote the social, educational, and economic interests of the women of Lamoille Valley. Today, the LWC opens its membership and good works to the entirety of Elko County. Their mission today is to provide the opportunity for women to socialize and collaborate to improve their community through service projects. They look for women with diverse interests, talent, and backgrounds-all united by their dedication to community improvement through volunteer service.

In the beginning, when membership dues were only ten cents per member, members would meet at each other's homes where they would learn new homemaking skills and developed a few community projects. One of the first endeavors included weighing each child in the community to assure proper growth. Projects like this fostered the desire for community engagement.

With World War II came an excellent opportunity for the LWC to get involved in volunteerism. Members spent their time rolling bandages to send to the front lines; they knitted for service members, led fundraisers to benefit the Red Cross, and made many items to support the Wendover Air Base Hospital. For those that don't know, the Wendover Airbase was an integral of WWII-it was home to the Enola Gay, whose infamy is in the dropping of Atomic bombs on Japan.

During this period, the women had had enough of the travel conditions between Elko and Lamoille. The narrow, dirt two-track was nearly impassible during the winter months and often called for an overnight stay in Elko when undergoing the trip. Can you imagine the drive that many of us make daily being at least a two-day trip? So, in 1939 the women of the Club met with the county commissioners to discuss building a new road. After eight years of hard work, a portion of it done by the LWC itself, the road opened in the spring of 1947. The Elko Daily Free Press wrote, "One of the finest inter-community celebrations ever held in Elko County marked the completion of the Elko-Lamoille Highway…The Women's club members of Lamoille were among the hardest workers."

By 1947, the club had much outgrown their original 15 member and decided that they would need a permanent clubhouse to call their own. They earmarked $102 ($1,251.29 in 2021) in a special fund just for this project. The ladies held numerous fundraising events to raise the capital for their building. That $102 soon grew to $1900 ($23,308.40 today), a substantial amount of money. Local businessmen were impressed by the women's effort and gifted the Club an additional $812, bringing their total to $2765 (33,919.85 today). They heard that the Army Hospital located in Tonopah, NV, was being decommissioned and disassembled. In those days, it was ubiquitous for entire buildings to be moved from one place to another in an effort to prevent waste. The Club voted and decided to buy and relocate a building to Lamoille. The total cost for this endeavor:$2801. A foundation was constructed, and the building was settled into its new home in August of 1949, debt-free. The plot of land where the clubhouse sits was gifted to Elko County by a Mr. Charles Noble, who stipulated that the land could never be sold and must be used for recreation. The county leased the land to the LWC for their clubhouse in perpetuity. The women then enlisted the sweat labor of their husbands and spent an entire year renovating the hospital and turning it into their new meetinghouse. Now, with a new clubhouse, the women officially adopted their new moniker, too, finally becoming the Lamoille Women's Club. A random fact you may not know-Mr. Charles Noble of Elko also gifted the land that the "Little Church of the Crossroads" alights upon, as well as "The Grove" in Lamoille.

In the '50s, the Club focused energy on various education projects, helping to make access to education easier for all of Lamoille Valley. But, by 1965, the LWC set their sites on building yet another road-the scenic byway that winds into Lamoille Canyon. This time, it only took the ladies three years of navigating red tape; by 1971, the road opened to the public.

The next to benefit from the steadfast, giving nature of the women was the now historic Little Church of the Crossroads in Lamoille. From 1970-1972, the women raised funds for much-needed renovations to help the church. The years between 1984 and 1986 brought more need for repairs, and the women stepped in. They've also been crucial elements in the many incarnations of the Rancher's Center in Lamoille over the years.

The idea that would eventually be the signature of the LWC came to a member in 1975. The first Country Carnival was held and featured homemade items and games for the kids, with all the proceeds going to community improvement projects. Unknown to the women of 1975, the idea for the Lamoille Country Fair would be the most effective tool in the LCW's toolbox, having been held every year, except 2020 due to concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, since its implementation. Now, the LCW is in the process of planning for the 47th annual Lamoille Country Fair. It is held on the last Sunday in June, annually.

The walls of the clubhouse are an exciting sight to behold. Acting as a particular type of time capsule, the walls contain pictures of past club Presidents, articles detailing their many community projects, including ones dedicated to preventing child abuse, intimate partner abuse, restoration of the Lamoille cemetery, and helping to install a new firehouse in Lamoille. They are even the creators and were the longtime caretakers of The Grove in Lamoille. When Elko took control of the project, the LWC was granted access to the Grove on the final Sunday in June in perpetuity. Also, there are several scholarships that the LWC offers each year to Elko High School, Spring Creek High School, and to women who have experienced intimate partner violence who wish to further their education at Great Basin College.

Today, the Club is comprised of women cut from the same cloth as the strong, fierce women who were the founders. They live their lives in the volunteer spirit, who want to make a positive change, no matter how small, in the lives of as many people as they can. Now that you know the Lamoille Women's Club's proud history, tell us, how do YOU make a difference?