The Administration Building Not Just a Facelift - a Renewed Purpose
Rise Up and Build!
Since the invention of computers and the internet, WCTU administrators have had the luxury of working from their home offices. This change not only allowed more women to work in National WCTU leadership positions without moving to Evanston, Illinois but also enabled us to continue to work as we had for years when COVID-19 governmental shutdowns occurred.
Due to this change, the WCTU Administration Building was neglected for many years. Although the building was neglected, it continued to contain the Signal Press Office (WCTU's publishing house), the WCTU's extensive archives and WCTU's Library. WCTU also continued to welcome researchers interested in Christian women's work and how they improved living conditions in the United States and around the world.
In 2019, a new slate of National Officers were elected. The new officers brought with them a new shared vision of what could be. Under the leadership of President Merry Lee Powell, the WCTU began to reprogram, revitalize, and repurpose the WCTU's Historic Properties.
The 100th anniversaries of the 18th Amendment (prohibition) and the 19th Amendment (women's right to vote) to the United States Constitution sparked new interest in history researchers, teachers, and students alike. In order to obtain historically accurate information, they looked to the massive collections in the WCTU Archives.
Over the past year, work has been taking place on the WCTU's Historic Administration Building to bring it into the 21st century with a new purpose. National Officers began to revitalize and repurpose the WCTU Historic District to create a more welcoming environment for WCTU staff, researchers and visitors.
Please allow me to show you some of the progress that has been made over the past two years and what still needs to be done.
Welcome to the WCTU Administration Building.
The WCTU official emblem welcomes people as they enter.
The entrance has been cleaned and polished. On the "To Do List" is the refinishing of the wooden floors to bring them back to their original glory.
American and Christian flags proudly stand in the lobby.
The beautiful Frances E. Willard Memorial Stained Glass Window that originally hung in Kellogg Hall Chautauqua, New York is proudly displayed to the delight of all who enter. It was moved to the WCTU Administration Building in 1946.
The Signal Press office is located on the 1st floor near the entrance.
Gracing the walls of the Signal Press office are the recently cleaned and preserved 1874 photo of Frances Willard and the 1914 photo of Anna Gordon.
Work to freshen up the Administration Building began in 2020.
The cleaning and painting in several rooms began.
With lots of "elbow grease," Signal Press Manager Nancy Schultz and National WCTU Secretary Jacqueline Stull got to work. The historic framed photographs that had been stacked haphazardly on the floor by previous building managers were moved to safety. The room was cleaned and ready to paint
In another room, a good cleaning, new light fixtures and paint was a small price to pay to make a big difference. Just imagine refinished floors.
Hallways are being cleaned and brightened up.
The new officers were shocked to see that the bathrooms had been left neglected for years.
In this bathroom, walls were repaired and fixtures replaced. "To Do List"...the other bathrooms.
Old bathroom fixtures were moved outside and taken away.
As renovations took place, exciting discoveries were made of forgotten traditions. Items were refinished to bring them back to life for the 2021 National Convention. Long time WCTU members may remember the placards that designated Delegate seating at conventions. Well, they are back! After all that work, naturally hand made embroidered felt storage bags were a must. The restoration work and creation of the storage bags were accomplished by volunteers.
Finally ready to be used again.
Candles have been placed in the windows of the WCTU Administration Building as a symbol that WCTU continues to light the world.
As you can see, much work has been done but this is just the beginning. The building is very large and there is much more that needs to be done in our effort to reprogram, revitalize and repurpose our building.
The WCTU is needed just as much today as in the past. Donations to the National WCTU will help us "Hold high the torch!"
We are grateful for every prayer lifted up and every donation, no matter how small. Please consider joining with us as we continue to "Rise Up and Build."