Brookings Civic League

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Brookings Civic League

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The Brookings Civic League was organized on April 12, 1912, when forty women of Brookings met to organize a Civic League. Its purpose was "the consideration and discussion of civic and community problems with a view toward active participation in uplifting, improving and beautifying the city of Brookings, and to cooperate as an auxiliary with the Commercial Club in these matters." This club was organized largely through the efforts of Dr. A. A. Harris, the president of the Commercial Club and then Mayor of Brookings. The club went to work right away on improvement issues in Brookings. Garbage collection was its first milestone. The group arranged to have refuse cans placed at accessible locations on Main Street of Brookings by July 1912.

In 1914, the Women's Suffrage campaign was becoming an issue across the nation. The Brookings Civic League affiliated itself with the South Dakota Federation of Women's Clubs in February of that year to help in "the progress of all things pertaining to the welfare of women."
World War I broke out in Europe in 1916. By 1917, American men were called upon to serve their country. The Civic League did their part by organizing the Brookings Chapter of the American Red Cross. By 1919, many women's clubs were active in Brookings, each doing its own work with no cooperation between the groups. The Civic League called these clubs together and organized a City Federation. All women's organizations in the city of Brookings were eligible to join the City Federation, provided they had an organizational constitution.

Over the years, the Brookings Civic League has worked on many projects. In the 1920's, the Civic League worked diligently on cleaning up the city of Brookings. An anti-fly campaign was organized to alleviate the town of its persistent fly problem and an Annual Clean Up Week was begun in 1922. Some other projects include park beautification, tree conservation, bicycle safety, a swimming pool, public health, and a school milk program. The League sponsored the Farmers Ladies Lounge, a women's rest room that featured an attendant. It also helped in locating and establishing the South Dakota Art Museum on the South Dakota State University campus.

In recent years, the city of Brookings has taken over city improvement issues. Because of this, the Civic League has become less of a civic action group and more social in nature. Today, the Brookings Civic League still meets on a regular basis but with a new focus. Each year, the group sponsors a Craft & Collectibles Fair and donates the funds to the South Dakota Art Museum.


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