Women's Christian Temperance UnionThrough the efforts of Mrs. J.P. (Elizabeth) Johnson and Mrs. L.N. White, the W.C.T.U. was organized on Nov. 26, 1902, by Mrs. Nannie Webb Curtis, who was organizing unions throughout the state. The ladies felt a union was necessary to fight against the many saloons that existed at that time in Canadian.
Women's Christian Temperance Union 1911At the first meeting there were about 20 members. Officers included: Mrs. J.F. Johnson, President; Mrs. J.T. Jackson, recording Secretary; Mrs. Ed CorsonS, corresponding secretary, and Mrs. D.J. Young, treasurer. They held weekly meetings on Wednesday afternoons. Their goal was to have a local option election to determine whether the county would be “wet” or “dry”. On December 30, 1903, they were victorious with 64 for and 34 against abolishing the sale of whisky.
Their union grew and in 1905 dreams of owning their own building were born. They purchased a lot for $400, money they had solicited from the community. In 1906 the now famous annual bazaar and turkey dinner was held to raise money for the building. Finally in 1911, the building became a reality. During a celebration on December 26, 1917, the mortgage was burned, as the debt had been completely paid off.
Canadian's local W.C.T.U. Chapter closed and donated the building to Hemphill County in 1972. The National Chapter continued to operate until the mid-1980s. The building stands as s a monument and represents the dreams and work of a dedicated organization to foster a good life for those who live in Canadian. This building currently houses the Hemphill County Public Library which now benefits from the annual bazaar.