Yamada

Foothill Service Club for the Blind member Walter Dorrance, right, demonstrated his leather craft skills at a 1951 sale of items made by members of the club. Oakmont League members organized the event, held at Sears. Oakmont members from left, Alice Van Roo, Lenora Vom Cleff, Pat Mann, Dot Jones and Evelyn Bertram. (Photo courtesy of the Foothill Service Club for the Blind) / March 29, 2012)

Back in the ‘40s and ‘50s, one of the most popular activities at the Foothill Service Club for the Blind was the craft program, which began soon after the club was founded in 1940.

The club grew very quickly and by the time this story begins, it had moved to a bigger place on North Glendale Avenue. At the time, two state teachers, plus a sightless instructor from the Braille Institute, were directing the craft work two days a month. Items were displayed and sold at the club’s annual picnics, often held in the gardens of private homes.

The club continued to expand and they soon outgrew their North Glendale location and found a larger place in the Thursday Morning Club on Cypress Street.

It was during this time that new state regulations forced the loss of the craft class teachers, wrote club historian Frances Brown Clarno.

But the club was loath to give up the craft classes, as they provided members with a skill, so they cast around for volunteers.

A young woman named Pat Mann, a member of Oakmont League, stepped forward. She agreed to take over the craft classes and brought several other leaguers along to assist. Not only that, the league decided to help the club for the blind find a permanent home.

“The Foothill Service Club for the Blind has found a good and lasting friend in Oakmont League, which for more than two years has made the club its major philanthropy,” wrote Betty Preston, Glendale News-Press Women’s Editor, in 1948.

“This year, in addition to actual hours spent with club members in craft work, the league presented $3,000 to the building fund. The gift, more than half of the $5,400 proceeds from Gold Gulch, is double that given last year,” Preston wrote. The gifts were designated toward the purchase of property and construction of a clubhouse.

League members assisted with craft classes on the first and third Thursdays of each month at the Thursday Afternoon Club. They also served lunch to the craft workers one day each month.

Preston named several Oakmont members who were assisting with the club for the blind. (She used the newspaper style of the day, which identified married women by their husband’s name. So, in that same style, here are the women she mentioned.) The craft project was led by Mrs. L.M. Sutherland and the instructors included Mrs. Cornelius J. Mann, Junior, Mrs. Nelson Sweetser, Mrs. Paul R. Jordan and Mrs. Ernest Bertram. Mrs. Harry M. Pryor was president that year and, during the fall and winter months, league meetings were held at the Altadena Country Club. Gold Gulch co-chairs were Mrs. Forrest Hicks and Mrs. E. Erwin Whipple.

Oakmont Leaguers continued their financial support for several years, raising funds for a lot at Maple Street and Verdugo Road, then helping build a clubhouse. In December, 1950, the Foothill Service Club for the Blind moved into their new home at 600 South Verdugo.

On a Saturday in June 1951, Oakmont Leaguers sponsored a sale at Sears of some of the articles made by the blind club members.

Club member Walter Dorrance demonstrated his work on leather craft. Among the sale items were leather goods such as bags, key holders, billfolds and belts.

Oakmont League still continues its affiliation with the club, serving a Christmas luncheon every year, complete with turkey and all the trimmings.

Readers Write:

I'm curious about a building that I walk by on Glenoaks — 602 E. Glenoaks to be exact — that has a sign on the front reading “The Watson Family Photography Archive.” Do you know what this archive consists of?

Marie Fish

Also, the Glendale Historical Society has received a request from someone looking for information on the Holzer Candy store that was here in Glendale in the early 1900s.