When Mrs. Ransome E. Somers moved to Brewster from Pittsburgh some
50 years ago, she left a thriving Garden Club behind. Brewster -- unlike
Osterville, Hyannis and Harwich -- did not have a Garden Club. Mrs. Somers
was about to change that. She would establish one in Brewster and Mrs. H.
Bradford Clarke would work diligently with her to make the Club possible. On
October 5, 1954, the first meeting of the Garden Club of Brewster was held
at the home of Mrs. Somers, the Club's first President. Mrs. Clarke was the
first Vice President.
Meetings were held in members' homes and refreshments (tea and cookies)
were served in elegant style. In season, there were lovely floral arrangements.
Progress was enthusiastic and speedy, beginning with an observation tour of
Brewster to specify locations where the Club might improve the appearance of
the town through plantings and decoration. In December, the members learned
how to make Christmas wreaths and then sold them at the East Brewster Post
Office. This was our first Holiday Greens Workshop.
By May 1955, the membership quota of 40 had already been reached.
Many of the very early projects are discernible today, including the garden
at the foot of the Library's original parking lot, the privet hedge and hostas
which edge the entrance driveway, remnants of extensive plantings at the Old
Mill Sites, and flowering shrubs and trees in the triangle at Stony Brook and
In addition to the digging and planting along Brewster 's highways and
byways and raising funds to do so, the Club promoted campaigns to eradicate
elm tree disease, opposed public billboards along state highways, and protested
the sale of the land alongside the Canal. For those who are interested in the
early activities of our Club, the Brewster Ladies' Library has in its Reference
Department a bound collection of fascinating newspaper articles and
photographs from The Cape Codder, The Oracle, and The Cape Cod Times.
-- BY HARRIET McLEAN