CLAYTON — The Womans Club of Clayton is planning to rebuild its flattened gazebo.
Built in 1996, the gazebo once withstood a hurricane, but it fell in June when a huge tree slammed into it during a storm. Located on Church Street, the gazebo was a popular venue for weddings and a moneymaker for the club. Annually, the gazebo brought in about $10,000.
Tina Bolick handles finances for the Womans Club.
It has not been a major hardship; we are just glad no one was injured when it was hit, Bolick said.
The Womans Club dedicated the gazebo in October 1996. Jesse Austin of Clayton designed the 16-foot by 20-foot structure and built it over that summer. In September of that year, the gazebo survived Hurricane Fran, thanks in part to the installation of hurricane straps two weeks before that storm.
The club named the gazebo for club member Mary Hocutt Taylor, who conceived the idea and donated the money.
The gazebo was supposed to have hosted a wedding this month. For non-club members, the rental fee is $175 for a half-day, $225 for a full day. For club members, the fee is $75 for a half-day, $150 for a full day.
Fortunately, the club had the gazebo insured and received a check for about $15,000. Building a new gazebo will cost the $20,000 to $25,000.
By November, the club expects to have construction plans in hand. But it plans to wait until next spring to begin construction, which it expects to take about six weeks.
The Womans Club building itself is a piece of Clayton history. The clubhouse was originally a two-room school building, located across the street from where it is now. It was built around 1909, according to town historian Pam Baumgartner.
The building housed two grades of the rapidly-growing Clayton School. When the county built a three-story classroom building with auditorium now the Clayton Center the two-room building went up for sale.
Around 1928, Quincy B. Hocutt donated the $2 needed to buy the schoolhouse for the Womans Club. The club moved the house to its present location and remodeled it, for a total cost of about $2,700.
The Womans Club held its first meeting in its new building on Sept. 5, 1930.
The Clayton History Society recently recognized the clubhouse and will soon place a plaque there.