A Look at Amherst’s Service Clubs
by Susan Grelick
We owe our service clubs a debt of gratitude for their service to our community. When there has been a need they have always stepped up to fill in – when our seniors needed a place to congregate – with the assistance of Quota, Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary Clubs the first senior center in New York opened in 1961 on Main Street near Burroughs.
Whether it’s been the $5.5 million raised by the Millard Fillmore Suburban Women’s Hospital Board for the hospital; or the Ladies Fire Co. auxiliaries raising money to buy much needed fire equipment for our fire departments – our service clubs have always been there to meet the needs of our community.
They support our Town’s youth and recreation programs. Each year, the Jolly Boys organize the town’s Old Home Days Festival. The festival’s proceeds are used for youth programs in Amherst. The Bachelor of Arms Club was founded as a social and recreational club for young men. It had its own baseball team and met regularly at the Hopkins Schoolhouse on South Cayuga Road until it disbanded in the 1960s. And the Rotary Clubs provide funding for summer tennis tournaments, bike rodeos and youth after school programs.
The Garden clubs beautify our neighborhoods with tree plantings, and flower gardens. And the service clubs refresh our spirits by their generous annual donations to the Amherst Symphony Orchestra, a community volunteer orchestra with four free concerts each year.
The clubs have been strong advocates – the Williamsville rotary was an early advocate for the hospital being built in Amherst and our political clubs have helped to shape the vision of our town through their support of candidates running for office.
The Williamsville Lions Club and the Amherst Central Lions Club both began in 1952 to “serve the humanitarian needs of our community”. The Lions primarily assist the visually impaired and the blind. Quota of Amherst got its start in 1942 when a group of woman gathered to serve coffee, donuts and cigarettes when the troop trains came through Buffalo during the war. Today Quota of Amherst raises funds to assist the hearing and speech impaired.
And the clubs help us to remember and never forget the sacrifices that have been made for us by the long lasting memorials they have created: like the Amherst Republican Women’s establishment in 1955 of the War Memorial at the intersection of Main Street and Bailey Avenue; and the Soldiers Monument in the Williamsville Cemetery erected in 1947 by George F. Lamm Post #622;
We can never thank them enough !!
- AMERICAN LEGION GEORGE F. LAMM POST (1919) The American Legion George F. Lamm Post is named for the first Town of Amherst serviceman that lost his life in World War I. For many years the Lamm Post had a band that sponsored concerts in the Village of Williamsville Island Park.
- AMHERST DANCE CLUB (1957) The club consists of 80 couples who hold five dances each year.
- AMHERST GARDEN CLUB (1932) The Amherst Garden Club is one of the oldest in Western New York. It held its first flower show in 1932 in the Cayuga Road School.
- AMHERST REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE (1955) The New York Republican State Committee was established in 1855, with a strong presence in Amherst.
- AMHERST REPUBLICAN WOMEN, FEDERATED IN 1933 In 1929 a group of Amherst women taking a train to President Hoover’s inauguration, discussed starting their own organization. In 1933 they became Amherst Republican Women, or “ARW”. ARW has played a key role in community projects such as the 1955 establishment of the War Memorial near the intersection of Main Street and Bailey Avenue.
- AMHERST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA FRIENDS COMMITTE (1953) The committee’s purpose is to support the orchestra by publicizing its concerts, participating in fundraising, and providing hospitality for the musicians.
- AMHERST WOMEN’S INTERCLUB COUNCIL (2000) The Amherst Women’s Interclub Council is comprised of women who represent 20 Amherst women’s service clubs. Founded by Susan Grelick and Dolores Sapienza, the Council holds an annual event to support BNHV.
- BACHELOR OF ARMS CLUB (1933) The Bachelor of Arms Club was founded as a social and recreational club for young men. It had its own baseball team and met regularly at the Hopkins Schoolhouse on Cayuga Road until it disbanded in the 1960s.
- BUFFALO FEDERATION WOMEN’S CLUB (1904) Furthers education, community improvement and provides scholarships to the State University of New York and Buffalo State College.
- FOREST STREAM GARDEN CLUB (1942) Forest Stream Garden Club became a member of Federated Garden Clubs of NYS in 1946. Through their 75 years, Forest Stream Garden Club has hosted flower shows, supported the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, and the Amherst Blue Star Marker.
- GETZVILLE FIRE CO. LADIES AUXILIARY (1922) Over 75 years the auxiliary has donated cash, equipment, building repairs and remodeling to Getzville Fire Company.
- JOLLY BOYS OF WILLIAMSVILLE (1972) They raise funds for Amherst youth and recreation. Their major fundraising activity is Old Home Days.
- LIONS CLUBS (1952) The Williamsville Lions Club and the Amherst Central Lions Club assist the visually impaired and blind.
- MAIN TRANSIT FIRE LADIES AUXILIARY (1936) Assists the firefighters by raising money for equipment, provides scholarships, and assists families who are in need.
- MILLARD FILLMORE WOMEN’S HOSPITAL BOARD (1962) To date, the Board has raised $5.5 million for the hospital through their fundraising activities.
- QUOTA CLUB OF AMHERST (1942) One of the oldest service organizations in the world, the club raises funds to assist the hearing and speech impaired.
- SWORMVILLE FIRE CO. LADIES AUXILIARY (1920) Assists the firefighters by raising money to purchase needed equipment.
- UNITED METHODIST WOMEN OF WILLIAMSVILLE (1915) Supports programs to improve the needs of economically dependent, undereducated or those who suffer hardship due to their refugee and immigration status.
- UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO WOMEN’S CLUB (1945) Proceeds from their fund-raising events provide scholarships monies for UB students demonstrating academic excellence.
- WHISKER CLUB 1950, 1993, 2018 The Whisker Club was formed in 1950 during the Williamsville Sesquicentennial and again in 1993 for the Amherst Septquicentennial. The men in this club grow beards and whiskers for prizes.
- WILLIAMSVILLE ROTARY CLUB (1925) The Williamsville Rotary was the 2,026th chartered division of Rotary International. The Town has been home to four rotary clubs: Amherst East Rotary, Amherst North Rotary, Amherst South Rotary, and the Williamsville Rotary.
- ZONTA CLUB OF AMHERST (1965) From fundraising to service projects, the club has supported many organizations and groups such as the hospital, orchestra, Meal on Wheels and the fire departments.
The Bicentennial Commission is compiling a history of the Town of Amherst service clubs as part of the year long celebration. If your club would like to be included please contact Susan Grelick at email@example.com