The Woman’s Club of Warren building at 310 Market Street has a dynamic and colorful history. Myron Waters purchased the land from the borough of Warren in 1865 for less than $2000.00. In 1872 he and his second wife, Charlotte built the present-day brick three story house. It is constructed in the Italianate style, with hip roof, and three front façade openings on each level. The arched floor-to-ceiling windows are embellished with inverted U- hooded crowns. A cornice with paired corbel supports the third floor overhanging eves. A bell ringing system, which can still be seen, was used to alert the live-in servants that they were needed. The main rooms have beautiful fireplace hearths used to heat the entire house. The basement has full individual rooms with arching brick passages, partial dirt floors and an original hand pump installed in the floor for inside water well access. The interior woodwork is highlighted with tall doors including arched insets and rounded frame moldings. The Department of the Interior has placed The Woman’s Club building on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building history needs to be intertwined with the story of Myron Waters, the original owner, who has a significant place in history himself. As a young man, Myron was a partner in a large, local sawmill/gristmill operation, as “timber” was the money maker of the time. Then in 1859 Coronal Drake drilled his oil well in Titusville and oil production became the new “boon”. Myron Waters drilled the second successful well on Oil Creek. He was a dynamic force of economic innovation and investment and soon became invested in oil transportation, railway ventures, bridge building, manufacturing, and the hotel business, to name a few. In 1887, he founded and presided over Citizens National Bank.
The most infamous of his ventures (by today’s standards) was his investment in, and manufacture and distribution of PISO’S CURE FOR CONSUMPTION. The internationally marketed “remedy” was more than a typical snake oil cure as it was eventually determined to contain alcohol, chloroform, cannabis and opium. It no doubt, gave some temporary illusion of being “cured” of whatever. It was however, no illusion that Myron Waters became the third wealthiest man in Warren County.
When his good friend and fellow “oil man”, Henry Rouse, was killed in an oil well explosion, Myron took it upon himself to assure that Henry’s philanthropic intentions were carried out after his death, as evidenced in the Rouse Home that still houses and comforts so many elderly and disabled people in Warren County.
Myron Waters had his own generous nature and helped to purchase the land for the public library in Warren. Also, he made large donations toward the construction of Warren’s first hospital.
The Woman’s Club of Warren, chartered in 1913, purchased the house from the Water’s Estate in 1922 for $21,000 (Charlotte Waters was a Woman’s Club member). In 1924, a Warren builder, Frank Schuler, was contracted to build the ballroom addition.
Over the last 104 years, The Woman’s Club of Warren has been the energy behind political rally, social movements, cultural study and change. The house has been the site of gatherings that supported American troops at war, fought for Woman’s rights, advocated temperance, promoted art and education, and celebrated occasions of joy. The ballroom has been a preferred venue for wedding receptions for all of its 93 years. Also, the Waters’ mansion has been home to Warren Players Theater, Shakespeare Club festivities, Philomel music, Art Club, Antique Study, Garden Club, Exchange Club and Zonta Club. The women continue to play weekly bridge games, enjoy luncheons, dinners, speakers and study groups.
Today, although the glory days of timber and oil wealth are past, the membership of The Woman’s Club has accepted the formidable task of preserving this historic building. During the past decade, the ladies and gentlemen supporting The Woman’s Club have demonstrated great generosity in their continual donation of personal talents, time and money.
In the year 2000, this process started with the installation of new heating and air conditioning in the entire building. In January 2004, a frozen water pipe burst in the front butlers’ pantry necessitating a new kitchen floor, cabinet repair, and painting of walls and woodwork. This facilitated the installation of new carpeting throughout the building, chosen in keeping with the Victorian atmosphere. First floor interior walls and woodwork have been painted in historically sensitive colors.
In 2006, the second-floor meeting and music rooms were completely redecorated by volunteers including carpeting, painting and handmade-lined floor to ceiling “old world” floral draperies. In 2007 an extensive fundraising campaign raised the $100,000.00 needed to assure the building continue to be useful to our aging population. A new elevator to the second floor was installed, as were newly remodeled handicap-accessible restrooms. The exterior of the house was given a fresh coat of white paint and the ballroom received a new roof. Also, during this time frame, additional antique furniture pieces have been donated and other pieces have been restored and reupholstered.
The ballroom foyer showcases rosy Victorian wallpaper anchored by black and white squares of tile. In April 2009, exterior doors were replaced, and members donated their time to repaint the entire ballroom in its traditional colors. A bar/cooler area was installed for the convenience of weddings and other celebratory events.
In 2016 storm windows were custom-made for the south side parlor windows making these windows more energy efficient. We are grateful for grant money from community foundations and business which made this improvement possible.