A History of the Beginnings of FGCV Clubs in Vermont
In the fall of 1936, with the encouragement of members of the Manchester and Bennington Garden Clubs, representatives from ten clubs met in Manchester to organize a state federation of clubs. The ten clubs were Ascutney View, Barre, Bennington, Brandon, Fair Haven, Cornwall, Manchester, Middlebury, Rutland and Vergennes clubs. Miss Ethel Winnik was voted the first president and the first annual meeting was held at the Equinox Hotel in Manchester in June of 1937. Governor George Aiken, later made a member, was the guest speaker for 250 members and guests.
In 1937, having adopted a constitution and a state seal, the Federation was accepted for membership into the National Council of State Garden Clubs. Seven additional clubs soon joined the Federation: Plain Dirt Gardeners of Bennington, Brattleboro, Springfield, Proctor, Cascadnac of South Royalton, Wells, and Burlington.
As early as 1938 the Federation voted its support for billboard restrictions, encouraging members to write their legislators. Letters were written to signal the thread of Dutch Elm disease. In the pre-WWII years, courses on judging were held at the Long Trail Lodge near Rutland, visits were made to members' outstanding gardens, and a four page newsletter was published in the fall of 1939, 1940, and 1941.