• Alyssa Collins

Lockport Woman's Club Launches Fundraiser for New Legacy Project

Published in the Lockport Legend

Bonfire smoke filled the air as Lockport residents, donned in Halloween garb, made it up the gravel drive towards the HellsGate Haunted House.

With outdoor games, music and a dinner buffet, almost 200 attendees celebrated the evening of Friday the 13th by fundraising for the Lockport Woman’s Club’s upcoming legacy project.

For over 100 years, the Lockport Woman’s Club has funded thousands of dollars in scholarships through the high school, according to former woman’s club president Christine Wallace.

Working with the city and the mayor, the Lockport Woman’s Club organized A Spooky Night Out at HellsGate Haunted House, located at 3101 Canal St., to fundraise for the construction of a boat themed children’s park to take over a portion of the old Chevron Star business park.

“A hundred and fifty years ago it used to be an actual ship yard,” Mayor Steve Streit said in a brief speech at the event. “It’s the perfect place to have a shipyard park that’s both historical and actually fun to play on.”

In 1921 the woman’s club took on their first legacy project by starting a volunteer library within the community. Nearly a century later, the club has found a new way to branch out. This event is the first fundraiser that the Lockport Woman’s Club has held for the new project, but if all goes well, they expect to repeat A Spooky Night Out next year, said Mayor Streit.

Bob Carr, founder of the Give Something Back Foundation, sponsored the fundraising event and spoke briefly about his experience with the Lockport Woman’s Club. The Give Something Back Foundation provides college scholarships and mentoring to students who have faced economic hardship.

“In 1963, before most of you were born, the Lockport Woman’s Club gave me a scholarship, and that scholarship has grown within the Give Something Back Foundation,” Carr said. “We now have 1,000 students, the largest majority from the Will County and Lockport area, who are going to college.”

With help from Carr and the City of Lockport, Tina Baker and other women’s club members are excited to expand their roles within the community and promote the history of the Erie Canal. Lockport residents were also eager to show their support.

“I want to get involved with as many local events as I can, and I thought this looked like a good cause so we wanted to come out,” said Catherine Jepson, who recently moved to Lockport with her husband Steve Fuglskng. “Plus, we like Halloween.”

The Lockport Woman’s Club and the city are in the early planning stages of the park. There is currently no construction date set, according to assistant treasurer and membership chairman Tuani Savickas.

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