In addition to Kingsport’s centennial, the club is celebrating its 85th birthday during the 2016-2017 year. To commemorate these special occasions, club members have spent the last year creating programs about the history of Kingsport, which they have presented to the city archives.
“It’s a gift,” said Jenny Clemmer, president of the club. “It really has been a gift that we’ve been able to provide to the city, not just to ourselves.”
The Delphian Club was founded in Kingsport in 1931. According to Cathy Harvey, upcoming president of the club and chair of this year’s Seminar Committee, the Delphian Club is one of the oldest women’s groups that is still active in Kingsport.
The club, which is comprised of 30 active members and seven honorary members, exists to help its members broaden their knowledge on a variety of topics. Each year, a seminar committee chooses a topic of study, and club members are encouraged to research the topic and share their information with other members in the form of programs.
“A person who’s responsible for the program plans a 20- or 30-minute presentation, or she can invite someone to do a presentation,” Harvey said. “This year we had people to talk about Kingsport history or had someone who’s more knowledgeable to come in and give the information to the group.”
Though the programs are not normally recorded, this year’s presentations were documented with videos, which are now available for viewing on the Kingsport Historical Society’s YouTube page.
After the initial unveiling of the topic of study, officially named “Kingsport, 100 Years of Treasures — People and Places,” Harvey said the club members immediately got to work.
“I asked them to find a historic place and then to focus the program on the history of our area or something significant that happened in Kingsport’s history,” Harvey said. “So once we got the ball rolling, the members who were responsible for the programs really took the lead from there on. It really just evolved into a wonderful series.”
Over the past year, club members put together nine programs about a variety of historic places and people in Kingsport, including the Rotherwood Mansion, the Lodge in White City, Allandale Mansion, the Netherland Inn, the Exchange Place and Lola Dennis, wife of John B. Dennis.
“When you consider the people who are interested in the centennial this year,” Clemmer said, “plus the senior citizens that live in Kingsport that have heard about the Stone-Penn House but have never had the opportunity to go in it, or the Lodge in White City… they can kind of get an inside view now through the video of these places.”
To view the programs, search for the Kingsport Historical Society on YouTube. All program titles begin with the phrase “Kingsport 100 Years,” followed by the topic of each program.