In 1891, five years before Miami became a city, Flora McFarlane and the women of Coconut Grove formed the Housekeeper’s Club, now called the Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove.
As a woman homesteader and teacher, Flora McFarlane was keenly aware of the isolation and loneliness of the pioneer women. She invited women in the community to take part in weekly gatherings. Her goal was “to bring together the housekeepers of our little settlement by spending two hours a week in companionship and study.” By working together their pioneering spirit built a community. Their motto was “lend a hand.”
Members of the Club have provided service to the community and support for each other for 126 years. Their first major project was raising the funds for a Sunday School Chapel in 1894, which eventually became Plymouth Congregational Church.
The Club held theatrical performances, literary readings, musical entertainment and parties. Members were engaged in Everglades conservation, saving Paradise Key, the nucleus of Everglades National Park.
Social advocacy was a central focus of the Housekeepers Club of Coconut Grove. Group members acted in support of Seminole Indian tribes, who remained exploited to a great extent. The group participated in the delivery of humanitarian aid, working in conjunction with the American Red Cross in times of disaster or crisis.
In June 1923, in an effort to continue the support of positive female role models in a rapidly changing United States, the organization sponsored the first Girl Scout of America troop in southeast Florida. The troop nicknamed themselves "The Alligators".