Newell Garden Club

In 1959 a group of town ladies who shared the hobby of flowers and gardening, had the idea of pooling the fruits of their labor, by holding a community flower show. This was the first adventure of this kind ever in Newell. In September 1959 they secured the Bober Seed House for a display on Labor Day.


With this new found community interest, the ladies decided to organize. The Newell Garden Club officially was formed on September 25, 1959 at the home of Mrs. Clarice Brotsky. They chose their leadership; Ivy Kuhlman as Chairman, Ada Cunningham as Vice Chairman, and Elizabeth Ruff as Secretary/Treasurer. They decided sixteen members would be the maximum with dues being $1.00 per year. Monthly meetings wer held on the 4th Friday of each month. Charter Members were: Ada Cunningham, Esther Getty, June Bonestell, Ivy Kuhlman, Elizabeth Ruff, Esther Reppen, Lola Syverts, Madge Milberg, Clarice Brotsky, Helma Hafner, Stella Lyons, Elsie Alexander, Abbie Friedel, Katherine Hice, Opal Soma, and Della Smeenk.


March 1960, The Garden Club began formulating plans to plant a Community Garden, another first for Newell. Opal Soma received permission from Mayor Art Jones to plant a garden in the City Park. Lyman Bruce, city worker, was instructed to bring a load of good topsoil. The garden was planted on May 25, 1960.


The Flower Shows and plant sale continued at Bober’s until 1963, when it was relocated across the street to the IOOF Hall basement. In 1983, the show had out grown that location and moved to the Newell City Community Hall, where 20 years later it is still held.


Projects sponsored by the Garden Club over the 44 years include: 1981 began planting flower tubs to beautify the downtown streets, presented live wreaths to local churches for Christmas, distributed “goodie plates” to area shut-ins, provided a community Nativity scene, sponsor prize money for flower arrangements at the Butte County Fair, and donate gardening books to Newell Library. The organization continues to plant the traditional community garden, located on the corner of 2nd and Gerard Avenue.

Meetings are held during the growing season only and the gardeners take a rest over the winter months.