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Catalog Number WF 1766
Caption Anacortes Red Cross and Fire Department
Description This group of five women from the Anacortes branch of the American Red Cross appear to have pinned some type of pin on Anacortes fire department members. The image was taken in front of City Hall on 5th Street (1107 5th Street) between N and O avenues. See WF 1765 for another view of this group. The Anacortes chapter of the American Red Cross began in February 1917 with the onset of hostilities in Europe and World War I. The 2-15-1917 ANACORTES AMERICAN reported, "The Red Cross movement has been enjoying a rapid growth among the women all over the land and many Anacortes women have expressed a desire to form such an organization here." Their first major project in town was responding to that war. Located first in the Elks Building, they quickly outgrew the space and moved to the Keystone Building, and then the Empire Building at 5th and Commercial where they established a "Headquarters of Home Service" to coordinate the production of bandages, knitted goods, etc. By June 1917, the Anacortes branch had 122 members and was turning out "a big volume of supplies" for the troops, according to the 6-7-1917 paper. In June, the town participated in its first "Roll Call Drive" to raise money to fund Red Cross work. Anacortes attorney William V. Wells (Sr.) served as the country manager of the drive, as reported on June 14, 1917. But once the war ended, the Anacortes chapter quickly downsized. The 2-20-1919 paper reported that the "home service" division had moved to the general headquarters of the chapter at 9th and Commercial; by May the chapter "reorganized." The 5-8-1919 paper reported that the Chairman and executive secretary resigned as there was "not enough work in Anacortes for the Home Service Section to justify paid salary. Cora Allmond will write a history of the work of the chapter. Will be finished by June 1." The 2-7-1941 Anacortes Daily Mercury announced that the Red Cross Center was now located in the Community Building, the former Elks Building which became Anacortes City Hall in 1947. See WF 2440. The women met there to do their work on sewing and knitting donations. As of February 2009 the organization is located at 2900 T Avenue.

The American Red Cross began in 1881. It was founded by nurse Clara Barton to care for sick and wounded during time of war. It broadened its mission in the early 1900s to assist in several important public health campaigns including the containment and treatment of tuberculosis, and the establishment of a rural nursing service. With the outbreak of World War I, Red Cross auxiliaries quickly formed in communities throughout the Puget Sound region, including Anacortes. Coupeville's was in place by 1917. These local Red Cross chapters provided material support to the Red Cross, particularly with the yearly fund raiser, the Roll Call Drive. These auxiliaries later contributed to major road/driving safety campaigns in the 1930s, and to the World War II effort in the 1940s. For additional information on their roots in the region, see "A Common Need, History of Medical Care on Whidbey Island" in the Anacortes museum library, pages 83, 83, 100. Also see WF 1392,1427 and Wallie Funk's photos of Red Cross activities in Anacortes during the 1950s and early 1960s.
Date 1940s c.
Photographer from the BRADY, Ferd collection
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Place -Anacortes, WA
Organization - Community Service
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
Place Anacortes, WA
Search Terms American Red Cross
Anacortes fire department
Roll Call Drive
Elks Building
Empire Building
Community Building
Rural nursing service
City Hall
Object Name Print, Photographic