Blackville Garden Club's roots run 70 years deep

For more than 70 years, the Blackville Garden Club has been helping to beautify the community.

The founding members are no longer active and only a few of their children remain in the club - Elsie Pettebone is one of those members.

The club recently held a luncheon to honor Pettebone's club involvement and to say their farewells as Pettebone prepares to move away from the area.

In the spring of 1938, Marie Collum conceived the idea of organizing a club among friends in Blackville.

Their first idea was a book club; but after discussing it, Valeria S. Gyles, suggested a garden club instead, since she had been a garden club member in the previous town in which she had lived.

This proposal found favor and the organizational meeting, with twelve members present, was held in April 1938 at the home of Virgil Nevils.

Gyles, because of her previous experience, was elected president with Collum as vice president.

The object of the club was to improve the planting of home gardens and to beautify lawns.

Their simple aim expanded greatly in the intervening years.

During World War II, club members learned to work together.

Victory gardens were planted and food was canned and preserved during those difficult years.

After the war ended, the Blackville Garden Club carried out its first civic project: the planting of magnolia trees and a cork oak on the school grounds in memory of the service men lost in the war.

The accomplishments of the Blackville Garden Club have continued over the years with various projects in the town. They have also been sponsoring a local student for the Conservation Camp each year.

The club has planted flowering trees in school grounds, along the old railroad bed on Main Street, along residential streets and at business and industrial sites.

Elsie Gyles Pettebone was born in Siler City, N.C. in 1924. She married John Elliott Pettebone in 1944 and they had two children.

Pettebone has held various offices in the Blackville Garden Club including president and secretary and has headed many committees.