The Duluth Womans Club was formed in 1923 by the combination of the Saturday Club, which was a weekly social club, and the Duluth Womans Club Council, which took on civic activities. Mrs. J.L. Washburn was elected to complete the organization of the new club and Mrs. F.A. Patrick was elected the first president. Initiation fee was $10 and dues were $10 per year. The objective of the new club was to be a non-political, permanent city-wide central headquarters for women and to awaken a wider interest in public affairs. On September 29, 1936, the Hartman home was purchased for $18,000. A $500 initial payment was made on June 16, with $7,500 paid in November of the same year. The remaining $10,000 mortgage, at 3.4 percent interest, was expected to be paid off in 10 – 12 years. but instead was completed by April 1938.
Construction began on the Hartman home in 1909 with Architect Fredrick W. Perkins of Chicago and Boston. The Duluth Womans Club made improvements starting in 1966, when an expansion tank in the attic sprang a leak and the furnace blew. $15,000 later, the club had a new kitchen with the expansion tank relocated in the basement along with the new furnace. In 1989 the kitchen was remodeled to meet the commercial standards. Until 2002, the second floor was an apartment for added income, and office space was rented to the Junior League until 2018. Additional improvements include a security system, a handicap accessible bathroom and a new lighting system to the first floor.
The Hartman House is a beautiful historic red brick Tudor building with much of the original design intact. It boasts solid Honduran mahogany paneling and woodwork and a unique wall-sized aquamarine hand-fired tile fireplace. The leaded-glass windows afford wonderful views of Lake Superior. The handsome deck off the Garden Room with its outdoor stairway provides access for guests to a lovely back yard bordered by a variety of trees, shrubs and flower gardens.
Our club is supported by its members contributions and our main fundraiser, which is the annual Duluth Woman’s Club Tour of Homes and Gardens. It was started over 50 years ago and includes lunch at the club.