gmhTODAY 07 gmhToday Mar Apr 2016 - Page 73

In April of 1905 a group of local business- people gathered to organize a society for the promotion of the general interests in Gilroy and the surrounding area. They called themselves the Gilroy Promotion Society, and by 1912 the group became the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce. Their entry in a local parade that year refers to membership — their goal being 250 members for 1915. The Eigleberry house, the first single-family dwelling constructed in town, can be seen behind the Woodmen of the World bulding in this photo. (Courtesy of Gilroy Museum.) Promotion Society. Local philanthropist Caroline Hoxett was appointed President, Nettie Ingham, Vice President, and Nettie Whitehurst, Secretary. Mayor Dunlap appeared at their bond issue rally and received the group’s full endorsement. “The Advocate is pleased to see the ladies of the community take such an interest in the town...Every proposal asked by the Council and Promotion Club should be passed,” the June 10, 1905 Advocate proclaimed. The following week, the June 17, 1905 issue stated that the ladies’ endorsement would “be of benefit to the city but will show to the world that Gilroy has become awakened and proposes to thrive and grow as it never has before.” Matters moved quickly. Within two weeks attorney E.D. Crawford praised the Woman’s Auxiliary Promotion Society, noting, “The entire state is watching Gilroy. We have the opportunity to move forward and make our future a success, or we can drop back into the old grooves and finally disappear from the map of the state.” In early August 1905, enthused Gilroy citizens held a rally at the Music Hal on Fifth Street. Voters were elated over the speeches and town boosting efforts. The bond election drive, although reduced to $51,000, was a huge success, passing in an overwhelming majority. The August 12, 1905 Advocate reported that an increased capacity water reservoir vote came in at 372 for, and 37 against; funding an electric power plant passed at 370 for and 38 against; and completion of the long- awaited city hall won an overwhelming 368 for, 31 against. The most votes went to addressing health warnings over Gilroy’s obnoxious backyard cesspools, and a bond to establish a citywide sewer system received 379 votes for, and 37 against. For the little farm town, the modern leap into the Twentieth Century wouldn’t have been the same without the enthusiastic support of the female citizens. As yet voteless in the election, they still joined in the efforts to make Gilroy a modern community. At last, homes would have enough water running in their taps, and the community would possess a flush system for its sewage. Nettie Ingham, President Women’s Auxiliary Promotion Society Nettie Whitehurst, Vice President Women’s Auxiliary Promotion Society GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MARCH/APRIL 2016 gmhtoday.com 73