BRIEF HISTORY OF
THE FOREST HILL GARDEN CLUB
On May 8, 1931 Mrs. E.J. Best and Mrs. Boyd Parker
together with 11 women founded The Forest Hill Garden Club. The function was “to promote the cultivation of flowers in the gardens and to assist the Forest Hill Association in beautifying of the tract as a whole”.
Gardening was chosen as the common interest. The fourth Monday of each month was Garden workday for Members.
Along with the garden activity, there developed a bond of fellowship. Social teas followed the meetings. The garden Club Choral was formed. The first Christmas Dinner was held in 1932.
FOUNDERS – 1931
Mrs. Boyd Parker Mrs. Sally Kratz
Mrs. E.J. Best Mrs. Henry Hohr
Mrs. F.L. Berry Mrs. Howard Thomas
Mrs. Emil Gingg Mrs. A.V. Williams
Mrs. Alfred Hanson Mrs. Harold C. Whitehouse
Mrs. Claude King
We became members of California Garden Clubs Inc. The Peasant Fair and magnificent Flower Show were great successes.
We entered the Oakland Flower Show (before the days of the Bay Bridge!) Dutch costumes and Tulip Tea blossomed.
Treasure Island Fair years and activities at the Hall of Flowers. French Doors were installed and the back terrace was bricked.
We sponsored Victory Gardens, First Aid classes and organized a Red Cross Production Unit the Monday after Pearl Harbor was bombed. We sewed and knitted each Monday with Canteen workers serving a hot lunch, cost 25 cents, the receipts paid for new kitchen cabinets.
We added to our war work “camouflage gardening” and delivered cookies, candies and cigarettes to the men stationed at isolated radar posts and harbor defense installations. For five years we acted as hostesses at the U.S.O. Hospitality House.
We organized the “Plant Cart Exchange”, donating the plants to Naval Hospitals and the “Waves” Barracks. We made Christmas wreaths for local military Hospitals and war trains. The California Garden Clubs awarded us a Silver Cup for outstanding achievement. A few ladies initiated the ”Bedside Bouquets” for Letterman Hospital at the request of the Red Cross.
Our Club takes over making Bedside Bouquets. The master plan for rehabilitation garden was drawn up. A “Showboat Party” ended this successful term.
We added reports of Civic and Social activities. The men organized the “Forest Hill Forum”, a discussion group. We helped host the Pacific Coast Regional Meeting of Garden Clubs and closed the year with a famous “South Pacific” Party.
Invasion of South Korea – we were at war again. Thus, renewed interest in Red Cross First-Aid classes and Bedside Bouquets. The National Council of Garden Clubs awarded us the “White Ribbon of Special Achievement”. A “Country School Party” closed these years.
At our Christmas Dinner in 1952, the President of the Association burned the mortgage to the Clubhouse. We made 300 small Christmas trees for the Red Cross. Our wrought iron screen was made for the fireplace. A “Plantation Party” wound-up the year.
Many changes suggested withdrawing from California Garden Clubs, Inc. The Clubhouse was enlarged, ceiling lights modernized and a “Mexican Fiesta” in May christened the newly enlarged Clubhouse.
TWENTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY! So we purchased 100 young hawthorn trees to be planted in the parking strips. We originated Succulent Planter Day and were written up in Sunset Magazine. A “Night in Paris Revue” was a gay closing.
Garden Club Members and their private donations brought about opposition and defeat of a plan to put a highway through Forest Hill. Decorating the Balcony cost $900. We held a “Barbary Coast” party.
We held our first box supper a “Harvest Moon Box social”. The Association gardeners took over the maintenance of the garden. A Theater Party, Can Can and Art in April was presented. Installation of a PA system and a “Hollywood Revue” made these very busy and fun years.
We continued Travelogue and started Bridge, Spanish and French classes. The Garden fell into disrepair, so we retuned to sharing work and cost with the Association. A Wine Tasting Party, Memory Lane Fashion Show, and “Oklahoma Hootenanny” concluded this industrious time.
Everything we did these two years for fun seemed to make a profit: Christmas Dinner, Bridge Party, Hat Fair, travelogues. The new garden was dedicated on April 18, 1966. “In the Garden Patch” and Fractured Funnies completed these years dramatically.
Fund raisers began with a Holiday Bazaar, our own published cook book titled “What’s Cooking on the Hill”, unique Forest Hill Player’s programs, Spring Fashion Show – “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” and card parties. Membership grew to 266 strong. A new committee, Special Activities, was formed. The Cookie Brigade was formed for distribution at Letterman Hospital. We presented gifts of $500. for the cement urns, $750. for the stove and refrigerator, $500. for the piano and $200. for garden benches to the Association. This cruise ended with a satire, “The Making of a President”.
Opened with a smashing evening party “Queen for a Day” and ended with a Sunday afternoon champagne Fashion Show by Grodin’s and ushering in the new President. Please note that there occurred a significant turning point here! Hats and gloves were no longer required!
A new wrought iron fence was installed. We purchased Bridge tables and padded chairs and had a closet on the balcony built to store them. The Bazaar Sale was a huge success.
FIFTY YEARS! Fund Raisers, the Poinsettia Sale, Tupperware party, and Mini-Boutique realized moneys for the purchase of 8 rectangular tables which were then rented out to bring in revenue. Our “Golden Gala” was held on May 8, 1981. Yoga classes, two evening projects (one with the Junior League regarding Earthquake preparedness and the second being Project Safe) and the musical “Godspell” with students from SSF High school, kept all these Ladies very, very busy.
Included a “Fabulous Fifties Party” and a wonderful “Christmas in Monaco”. Our very first Patio Sale took place in a very wet April! We made a special bus trip to visit the guide dogs for the blind and the Rose Gardens in Petaluma. Our big purchase was the round tables which were used and added to the rental pool.
Heralded an Oktoberfest, a Nutcracker Christmas, a Thirties Revival, and Christmas in the Highlands. Remember the Garden Court of the old Palace Hotel and the tour to Saratoga? Business took care of 70 new padded chairs and restraining Hawk Hill development. HMS Pinafore saluted the new incoming President.
We became even more social with our New England Clambake, Olde English Christmas, Kasbah in Morocco parties and two evening meetings. We purchased 8 new rectangular tables to replace the worn out ones. Directed most of our energies and finances to redecorating the Ladies washroom beautifully. Take a look!
Initiated several well-received evening meetings that included elegant fashion shows and cocktails. Hula’d to an exotic Christmas at the Royal Hawaiian. Interested gourmands toured the pleasures of the wine country and shopaholics braved the wilds of Gilroy for outlet bargains. Still partying at the “Clubhouse Beach” for clambakes and crab feeds. Special purchases included a new refrigerator! Received a special plaque of recognition from the Red Cros for forty-five years of Bedside Bouquets to Letterman Hospital.
Ushered in a greater sense of community with our neighborhood family clean –up day; club support of the Hawk Hill Reclamation resolution; a voice in the adoption of an improved traffic solution to the Taraval circle intersection and continued support of Laguna Honda Hospital with our floral donations. Our club programs were heavily weighted towards many types of gardening experiences from raising tropical exotics to a history of the SF Landscape and Garden Show – in which we were active participants! We enjoyed our varied socials with a “full house” for every event. House purchases included new supplies for kitchen use.
Continuing the dilemma, we were still trying to find ways to accommodate the changing lifestyles of our members, while keeping the wonderful traditions of the Garden Club intact. New technology meant that we could publish and change our roster with greater ease. Social functions like “Victorian Christmas” and a night at a speakeasy in “The Roaring Twenties” continues to be a popular venue to meet new neighbors and see old friends. With the closing of Letterman Hospital, we formed a new alliance with “Meals on Wheels” who welcomed our succulent planters and miniature spring floral arrangements to brighten their meal trays. Two new events were a Forest Hill “Christmas Tree” tour which helped to rebuild the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers and a tour of beautiful neighborhood gardens.
The Garden Club continued its tradition of monthly meetings designed to be informative as well as entertaining. Community service projects and special events enabled the Club to support the efforts of Meals on Wheels, the Conservatory of Flowers and the Dewey Circle Beautification Committee. Evening programs and parties were well attended and enjoyed by all. The sense of community that the Garden Club generates is truly one of Forest Hills greatest assets.
This year saw more changes. We updated our Bylaws to change officer terms to one year rather than two. Also, some officer and committee positions were consolidated. Our Community Service projects (formally called Red Cross Day and Succulent Planter Day) were incorporated into general meetings. On the social side, we continued our tradition of having great parties – “Howling Halloween”, “Delicious Spring Pot-luck and Barbecue,” and a fabulous “Colonial Christmas.”
The Garden Club hosted a special New Year’s Celebration to mark the millennium “Out with the Old – In with the New,” as well as our traditional parties with themes of “Simple Gifts” and “Teddy Bear Christmas” for the Holiday Dinner Dances. Fall parties celebrated “Harvest Moon over Forest Hill” and an old fashioned “Country Fair,” while in the spring we feasted at a “Crab Fest” and enjoyed a costume party with a “Circus” theme. The Garden Club purchased the stainless steel island counter for the kitchen and worked with the Forest Hill association to purchase new drapes for the Club House.
These years began with a party in honor of our 70th year, made bittersweet by the trauma of 9/11, but we kept our heads high and became even more patriotic than before. Our membership declined with the moves or deaths of some stalwart members, and increased with the addition of some previous holdouts and new neighbors We made good use of a new kitchen table, purchased by the last administration, and added some improvements of our own – a portable microphone, new card tables, and the upholstering of the upstairs benches to match the drapes. To appeal to the diverse interests of our members, we had a variety of programs covering such topics as books, poisonous plants, sailing, orchid care, women and heart disease, neighborhood history, and finally, personal collections of some of our members. Community service projects continued to benefit Meals on Wheels’ clients. Games Day also continued its tradition. Parties continued unabated with themes of “American Barbecue,” “Parisian Bistro,” “Indian Summer,” and “Tropical Paradise;” and our annual black tie affairs – “Deck the Halls” and “A Dickens Christmas.” These years ended with our group helping to host the Forest Hill Association’s wildly successful Musical Days in Forest Hill.
Membership grew, traditions were retained and new ones were added, such as a Mardi Gras potluck one year and a Valentine Dinner Dance the next. We remained fiscally strong, but challenged to find the right blend of meeting times and activities to satisfy young and old, working and non-working members and prospective members. Programs ranged from holiday decorations and pruning to fitness tips and book reviews. For our outreach we made bouquets for Laguna Honda Hospital, collected food for the San Francisco Food Bank, and held a garage sale to benefit scholarships at City College of San Francisco. Our holiday party theme was “White Christmas in the Woodlands.” Fall and spring parties continued the tradition of enjoying our neighbors. Thanks to all the members, especially the officers, who made it all happen. The Forest Hill Garden Club is a welcoming place where lifelong friendships are made.
2005 – 2007:
The Garden Club continued its traditions of monthly meetings with programs designed to increase gardening and horticulture skills as well as artistic awareness. Our community service projects were collecting food for the SF Food Bank and awarding scholarships to horticulture and floristry students at City College. The holiday party themes were “Christmas in the Garden” and “Midnight in the Jardin des Tuileries.” Fall and spring parties took on international themes celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations and the Persian New Year. The highlights of these two years included the inauguration of the Forest Hill Garden Club website, a garden tour of five members beautiful gardens, and the celebration of our 75th anniversary, which featured a silent auction and the “Old Goat” ceremony. Here’s to another 75 years!
2007 – 2009:
We love our traditions, especially our gardens, where we studied sustainable gardening and toured the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park. Our Community Service Project was collecting food for the S.F. Food Bank. Refurbishing the piano and buying new table rounds was our contribution to the Club House. We added some new social activities co-hosting with the Association such as our Chinese New Year’s Celebration. It was a wonderful visual spectacle with classical Chinese instruments, dancing lions, roasted pigs, and the best dim sum. Our holiday seasons were full of celebrations and joy in Santa’s Enchanted Forest and the Teddy Bear Picnic that started with: Wreath Making Day, Deck the Hall Sundays with luncheon, and our Neighborhood Children’s Party with storytelling. Another special event was Musical Days-2009, where Mari Kodama-Nagano, acclaimed concert pianist, and her husband Kent Nagano, world renown music director at the Bavarian State Opera and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra , once again return to Forest Hill with a wonderful summer chamber music festival. Our Fall and Spring Parties were International with an Italian Trattoria Dinner, and a Country Supper to “Celebrate by the Light of the Moon.” In spring we celebrated a jolly St.Patrick’s Day, and a sumptuous Persian New Years. Forest Hill is an amazing community that invites involvement, loves tradition, and tries new things!
2009 – 2011:
We celebrated the seasons with joy; enjoyed field trips to gardens and museums; we planted the gardens; we cleaned the clubhouse and took inventory. With increased revenue were able to purchase tables and tablecloths for them. Sounds of wonderful music echoed in the clubhouse all year long. Sense of community got stronger during these hard times. Last but not least were able to help some people in need and give them a helping hand with community service.
2011 – 2013:
The Garden Club celebrated its 80th Anniversary in October of 2011, a joyous occasion where we indulged in reminiscing many years of the club's glorious history. Our most senior member Maxine Dickson was honored. Her trophy was a special photo book compiled to capture her 50 years as a member. Also in May of 2013, at the "Old Goat" party, we celebrated Helen Scholten, Louise Bacigalupi, Judi Dittmer and Darlene Hartman, honoring their long time dedication and service to the club. Members enjoyed field trips to the Flora Grubb Gardens, Marin Farmers’ Market, the Gardens of Alcatraz, the Gardens of Laguna Honda Hospital. We had a guided tour to the nearby West Portal Elementary School after a presentation on “How to Grow a Green School Gardens” by our neighbors/author Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Amy Mack. In the art & culture area, members enjoyed docent presentation of FAMSF major exhibitions such as "Rudolph Nureyev - A Life in Dance" and "The Cult of Beauty". We were delighted to have an instructor from the Ikebana International Society who came to educate us in the Japanese disciplined art of floral arrangement. In community service area, we had our first Spring Fling. It was a private “Swap & Share” for Forest Hill women who donated clothing and costume jewelry. Our Fall Food Drive far exceeded our goals of collected goods and cash donation. We also donated hand made fabric bags of toiletries to city women shelters. The club turned over its ownership of the 7 round tables to the FHA and we purchased four smaller bar tables. Our talented members not only work hard, we also play hard. In addition to the annual holiday dinner dance, our parties took on creative themes such as "Vintage a la Mode" fashion show, "Flower Power" reminiscing the sixties era, and the all time favorite St. Patrick's Day dinner. "Bravo!" to all members, officers and committee chairs, who collectively have made the Garden Club a truly one of Forest Hill's greatest treasures.
2013 – 2014:
The moving of possessions from the clubhouse to allow for the renovation in the summer of 2013 was a large project.
The kitchen materials were boxed and moved to members' homes as were items in the upstairs storage areas.
Since the clubhouse was not available in September, our meetings were held at the Salma's residence.
By December we were fully "moved" back and were on schedule.
The Holiday Dinner Dance was successful and the newly renovated clubhouse was greatly admired.
Our 2013-2014 activities included a tour to the Fairmont hotel and a program demonstrating the use of watercolor.
We also had a program introducing the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit at the de Young.
Our membership has shown a large increase in the 2013-2014 term.
These are just a few of the highlights demonstrating the wonderful spirit of warmth and friendliness in this marvelous place to live, Forest Hill. May it continue!
Thanks to everyone.
The Members of the Forest Hill Garden Club
The organization shall be known as the Forest Hill Garden Club.
To promote the cultivation of gardens in Forest Hill.
To assist the Forest Hill Association in beautifying the tract and the Club House.
To provide a program of social, cultural and welfare projects.
To stimulate good neighborliness.
A regular member is one who owns her home, resides in Forest Hill, pays the regular dues to the Forest Hill Association and is signatory to their perpetual agreement. She may vote and hold any office.
a) An associate member is a regular member in good standing who has moved from the tract, and now resides within a fifty (50) mile radius of San Francisco
b) A non-resident member is a regular member in good standing who has moved from the tract, and now resides beyond the 50 mile radius of San Francisco. She may not vote or serve on the Executive Board.
c) An associate member or non-resident member who has submitted a written resignation may be reinstated upon written request to the president and payment of the initiation fee and one year’s due in advance.
d) A courtesy member is one who rents her home in the tract. The owner of the property must pay the regular Forest Hill Association dues and be signatory to their perpetual agreements. A courtesy member has regular membership privileges, but loses her membership when she moves from the tract.
The dues of the Club shall be decided upon by the Executive Board. An associate member shall pay the regular dues of the club.
The initiation fee for new members shall be decided upon by the Executive Board.
Anyone wishing to join for the last two (2) months of the fiscal year, April and May, on payment of the initiation fee and dues for the fiscal year beginning June 1st, shall be entitled to all privileges of the Club for the aforementioned two (2) months and for the ensuing year.
Resignations should be made in writing to the President and Executive Board.
The officers of this Club, duly elected in the month of April, shall consist of: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Financial Secretary, Treasurer, Auditor, five Directors and the Parliamentarian, appointed by the President. They shall be elected for a term of one (1) year.
No office shall be held for more than two consecutive years. All officers shall assume their duties on June 1st, following their installation at the regular meeting in May.
All vacancies in elective offices, except in the office of President, shall be filled by the Executive Board; such appointee to hold office until the next election.
The officers and the three (3) junior past presidents shall constitute the Executive Board of the Club.
a) The regular meetings of the Club shall be held on the third (3rd) Monday of the month at the forest Hill Club House. There shall be a minimum of six (6) meetings during the club year.
b) This shall include a business meeting and a program open to all members and guests when permitted.
The President shall have the power to call special meetings of the Club whenever she deems it necessary.
The Executive Board shall hold six (6) meetings during the Club year.
Seven (7) members of the Executive Board shall constitute a quorum.
Ten percent (10%) of the regular membership shall constitute a quorum for special and regular meetings.
a) This Constitution and Bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting of the Club, provided all members have been advised of the proposed amendment in advance.
b) A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the membership present shall be necessary to amend.
Duties of Officers
a) The President shall preside at all meetings, call special meetings and appoint all necessary committees.
b) She shall be ex-officio member of all committees except the Nominating Committee.
c) She shall attend the monthly meeting of the Forest Hill Association or appoint a representative to attend.
d) She shall prepare a report of the year’s activities to be presented to the Forest Hill Association on the first Monday in April and also make an annual report at the May meeting of the Garden Club.
The Vice President shall exercise all the duties of the President whenever for any reason the President shall be unable to act.
The Recording Secretary shall keep a full and accurate record of all the meetings.
The Corresponding Secretary shall conduct all correspondence of the Club and file copies of all letters sent out and keep an accurate record of all notices.
a) The Financial Secretary shall keep a list of all members.
b) She shall collect the dues and turn the money over to the Treasurer for deposit.
c) She shall send notices to delinquent members.
a) The Treasurer shall receive all monies, depositing same in such bank as the Executive Board shall designate.She shall pay all bills when duly authorized by the Executive Board, all such payments to be made by check signed by the President and Treasurer.
b) She shall render a monthly report of all receipts and disbursements, and give an annual report at the final Club meeting of the year.
The Auditor shall audit the Treasurer’s books twice a year.
a) The Finance Committee shall be composed of the Auditor, Vice-President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, and Financial Secretary.
b) It shall be required to submit a yearly budget of expenditures for approval of the Club.
c) It shall approve all items of proposed expenditure in excess of One Hundred Dollars before liability for such items of expenditure is incurred.
a) At the regular meeting in February a Nominating Committee shall be selected to present the names of candidates to fill the offices of the Club for the ensuing year.
b) Two (2) members of the Committee shall be appointed by the President from the Board; two (2) members shall be nominated from the membership at large. The Parliamentarian shall convene these four (4) members for instruction and they shall in turn select a fifth member.
c) The Committee shall select one of their members to act as Chairman.
d) No member may serve on the Nominating Committee oftener than once in two (2) years.
e) The Nominating Committee shall post the ticket at the next regular meeting. Other nominations may be made from the floor only with the consent of the nominee.
f) Election of officers shall be held at the regular meeting in April.
g) Installation of officers shall be in May.
h) The Installing Officer shall be the junior Past President.
Dues shall be delinquent as of November 1 and unpaid members notified of such delinquency. If dues are not paid by December 31, the delinquent member shall be dropped from membership.
Rules of Procedure
Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters not specifically covered by this constitution and bylaws.
Revised and approved April 1998
• Mrs. Edmund Bacigalupi, Chairman
• Mrs. Leslie Hartman
• Mrs. Lorne Ogmundson
• Mrs. James Scholten
• Mrs. Edward Anderson, President (ex-officio)