Women's Club celebrates community that came to its rescue

October 08, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Nearly one year after a portion of the historic Women's Club in Hagerstown was lost in a fire, the group opened its doors to celebrate the community that helped them.

The Women's Club held a reception Sunday for members, tenants and the public at 31 S. Prospect St., the site of the Oct. 22, 2006, fire that claimed the building's roof and third floor.

Officials have said the fire, which forced 18 women from their apartments, was caused by an electrical malfunction. Damage was estimated at $150,000.

The century-old building reopened in early September, and Manager of the Women's Club Linda Ogilvie said most of the repairs have been completed. The third floor, which sustained the most damage, was renovated and converted to storage, she said.


Three additional rooms for residents were added to the second floor, and that floor received new flooring.

After the fire, Women's Club President Betty Morgan said the group depended on the community a lot. Sites to hold board meetings were offered, as was a place to store food.

"The community really came to our rescue," she said. "We wanted to thank the people who helped us this past year."

Eighteen tenants lived in the building before the fire, and Ogilvie said five of the original tenants have returned. There are 15 now living there, and she said there are several vacancies.

She said the building also is now available to host luncheons and wedding receptions, as it did before the fire.

"Structurally, outside it's the same," Ogilvie said of the building. "Now, we're just trying to get business."

The group's fall bargain sale was the first public activity at the Women's Club since the fire, and two more events are planned at the building this month, including its annual bazaar.

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