Naperville Woman’s Club Looks To Be Refreshed

At 110 years old, the building housing the Naperville Woman’s Club could use a nip and a tuck. Built at the turn of the 20th century, the Old Stone Church is desperate for repairs. In order to pay for this much-needed facelift, the Woman’s Club is turning to a popular national fundraiser sponsored by Pepsi.

The Pepsi Refresh Project allows people to vote for ideas they believe deserve grant money.

“I saw some ads on TV and I saw some people were getting money for community projects, and I knew this building would be a great place for people to put their votes,” says Program Chairman Georgiann Baldino. “The Woman’s Club has been custodian of this building since 1925, and most of the money we have to maintain it comes from our fundraisers, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. So I thought the Pepsi grant would be a great way to get money infused to the repairs we need right now.”

Since 1897, the Naperville Woman’s Club has supported not-for-profit organizations that benefit the community, including Little Friends, Loaves and Fishes, and DuPage PADS. Pepsi funds would be used to refurbish the building so the group’s fundraising efforts could continue to benefit local charities.

Ruth Feightner, President of the Naperville Woman’s Club, explains how the group holds two main fundraisers each year. “We have the art fair that we sponsor at Naper Settlement and that’s in July. We’ve had that now for 51 years. And we have a fashion show in October at White Eagle,” she says.

One of the most expensive repairs needed is tuck-pointing. The church is a brick and mortar building, and the mortar can crack or come loose. If it not replaced, water can seep inside.

“Water is a big problem. Water attracts pests that create a microenvironment for termites and other pests and mold. And water itself – the freezing and the thawing in the winter can actually pull stones apart and rust the nails and so the plaster will fall in. So lots can happen if you don’t seal up your building,” says Bryan Ogg, Research Associate from Naper Settlement. Any cracks or loose mortar needs to be taken out and replaced. According to Baldino, the estimate the Woman’s Club received for tuck-pointing is $35,000.

However, the tuck-pointing isn’t the only part of the building that needs repairs. The roof also needs to be replaced and the landmark stained glass window needs to be preserved.

“We need to have a conservator come out and look at it and see what needs to be done to preserve that window. That’s the landmark feature of the front of this building,” says Baldino.

Woman’s Club members believe the building is an integral part of the community, as it serves as a location for support group meetings, art and writing contests, recitals and weddings.

“Buildings are the character of a community. When you are from out of town and you drive through a community – you can kind of get the idea of the feel of the community by the type of buildings they maintain and manage. This building is an outstanding example of Gothic Revival architecture, and we are literally surrounded by Naperville. This is Naperville quarry limestone. This is limestone from right underneath our feet,” says Ogg.

The Old Stone Church in Naperville is the city’s only project up for Pepsi Refresh funding consideration. The Public can vote to support the project through July 31st. If the project lands in the top ten, the Naperville Woman’s Club will receive $50,000 to restore the building.

To find the grant application for the Old Stone Church and vote, the public can go to Pepsi’s website at refresheverything.com and search for Naperville. Pepsi allows a person one vote per day for any single project.

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