Women's Clubs and Organizations
Utsalady [Utsaladdy] Ladies Aid
This longtime Camano Island women's club will celebrate its 100th anniversary on
March 8, 2008.
Begun by the Scandinavian women of the Island, the group first met at the Mrs. H.
P. Olsen home. The founding members were Mrs. William Lund, Mrs. Lena Lyngstad,
Mrs. I. E. Grandma Rolfson, Mrs. Sam Mathison, Mrs. E. Rindahl, and Mrs. Theo Rolfson
along with Mrs. Olsen. The group of Christian women were concerned about religious
education for young people. They wanted to have a parochial summer school and they
raised money for the effort. The first meeting notes were in Norwegian. By 1914
the membership had reached 14. Pastor Christenson of Our Savior's Lutheran Church
in Stanwood would come by horse and buggy to Utsaladdy twice a month to meet with
the women and conduct services. However, the religious education was non-denominational.
The group met monthly except during harvest or other times of home duties.
Besides supporting the parochial summer school, the women raised funds for a new
building and for Washington Children's Home. Lutefisk dinners seemed to be the major
way the group raised funds along with ice cream sales. By 1923 the building was
complete, built with mostly volunteer labor and lumber from a local mill. The guidelines
for use of the building included no dancing, drinking or gambling in the building
which was to be called a "building" and not a "hall."
Ladies Aid 75th anniversary taken by Stanwood News. Note the Rafael print (Madonna
and Child) at the far right. It still hangs in the building and is part of its important
history. Mary Margaret Haugen and my mother are in the picture as well as many
we recognize. Click photo to view a larger version.
-- Donna Shroyer
Over the years the building, which is now listed on the Washington State Heritage
Register and the National Register of Historic Places, has hosted Sunday School,
4-H, Campfire groups, funerals, home extension programs, voting and parties. During
World War II it was a first-aid station and sewing center for the Red Cross and
the women were aircraft spotters. The building was also a center for scrap drives.
The club members have also raised funds for Korean charities. Some current members
are descendants of the original members. Presently, the group also provides assistance
for community members, awards scholarships to local girls, and contributes to the
Stanwood-Camano Island Food Bank. A highlight each summer is the Old Settler's Picnic
at the building. The Ladies Aid is an important women's history story and site,
exemplifying women's concerns and activities over the past 100 years.
Jack Brown had a mill at Ustalady.This is his and Laura Brown his wife's home --
Also is a photo of Brown home his home with members of the Ladies Aid 1936-37 --
we can identify most of the the people. Click image to view larger version.
-- Donna Shroyer
Thanks to Donna Shroyer for her help.