History

The Century Club is the longest-running private women’s social club in Rochester, NY. Our mission is to cultivate a membership of women who are interested and involved citizens to positively impact our community.

The Century Club Mansion

Club History:

On January 6, 1910, the City of Rochester granted a charter to a group of perceptive women who desired to establish a club that would offer educational, cultural, and social opportunities. The Club first began meeting in a suite of three rooms at the imperial Powers Hotel located in the heart of downtown Rochester. Heralded upon its completion as the “safest and most palatial hotel in America" this seven-story structure became a renowned hub of culture and commerce during this time. The founding members of the Century Club gathered here, sharing varying backgrounds, ages, and life experiences—a tradition of diversity that continues to this day.

Library of Congress Detroit Publishing Collection 

It was in the summer of 1910 that Club membership quickly began to swell beyond 150 members, causing the Club to move to larger accommodations in the former residence of Myron G. Peck at 36 Gibbs street. It was during this progressive era that the Women’s Club Movement reached its peak. The Club Movement championed the idea that it was a women’s moral duty and responsibility to impact public policy and her community. Social clubs of varying denominations offered women a safe and empowered environment to insight great social change. The Century Club of Rochester was no different and quickly became a popular center for women called to serve in areas such as education, temperance, and the right-to-vote.

Women's History & Resource Center

at the General Federation of Women's Clubs 

Just three years later in 1913, with membership soaring above 200, the Club once again was in need of a larger more permanent home, one removed from the activity of the center city. Three miles to the west, along the wide tree-lined streets of East Avenue, then known as ’The Avenue of Presidents’, the Club found a dignified victorian residence then owned by Charles Hamm of the C.T. Hamm Manufacturing Company. 

 

View of Arnold Park from Vogt Mansion 

Rochester Public Library Local History Division

The home was originally built for businessman Albrecht Vogt who served as a prominent industry leader in manufacturing as well as electric light and power. Vogt was a renaissance man of his time with a deep love for music, architecture, philanthropy, and social clubs. In 1896 Vogt purchased a plot of land once part of the historic Azariah Boody Farm. Architect Leon Stern was commissioned to design a tasteful Victorian estate for Vogt and his family. Vogt's taste for understated elegance, functionality, and technology (this was one of the first homes to boast electric power on the avenue) all can be seen throughout the detail of the home. 

 

On August 7th, 1913 The Century Club purchased the Vogt mansion on the corner of East Avenue and Strathallan Parkway. During the 1950's major renovations to the property were undertaken to add a 1st & 2nd-floor ballroom as well as a full-sized industrial kitchen; these additions allowed for expanded club activities such as annual social events, fundraisers, lectures and musical performances.

Today, the Century Club continues to thrive, keeping abreast of the times and the evolving interests of our member base. The Club has expanded its horizons and will gracefully adapt to an ever-changing world. However, what remains constant is our respect for our predecessors, a spirit of oneness and cooperation, and our recognition of individual and mutual responsibility to better our community.

"The Club has become a center of social and intellectual interests. Club day entertainments have been varied and above criticism. A study program course of unexcelled superiority has been a part of the Club's effort to give the members the best to be obtained."

—1912 Century Club Annual Report

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