40 Years of Memories

Celebrating 40 Years of Hilton Head Island Memories

Below are some memories submitted by year that celebrate the Island's unique history and culture.Submit a Memory

  • 1960

    Women's Association of Hilton Head

    In the spring of 1960, seven friends gathered on the front porch of Nancy McBride's home in Sea Pines for afternoon tea. The conversation turned to Coligny Circle and how, with a little care, it could become a beautiful spot. The women went to work on beautifying the circle, grew their group to 23, and founded the Hilton Head Island Garden Club in January 1961. Though much is different, the original goals of the group have not changed. WAHHI exists to:

    • Promote the natural and cultural beauty of the Island;
    • Encourage projects which benefit the community; and
    • Facilitate communication among the women of the Island.

    Volunteers completed the project after four years of picking up debris, cutting back vines and undergrowth, having trees removed, and planting azaleas throughout the area. The group garnished support and assistance from the Hilton Head Company, Sea Pines Company, and Hilton Head Island Water Authority.

    The Garden Club later partnered with the Hilton Head Island Historical Society to begin to restore the Zion Chapel of Ease Cemetery. The restoration started a partnership that flourished as each organization evolved and became established permanent organizations. By 1965 the Hilton Head Island Garden Club expanded to 56 members, and the organization's changed its name to the Women's Association of Hilton Head Island.

  • 1960

    The Children's Center

    In the late 60's, WAHHI Members led a fundraiser for the Mental Health Association, sponsored a legislative seminar on South Carolina health and education problems, was involved in "The War on Hunger" led by Senator Fritz Hollings. In 1967, the Group, led by Billie Hack, was also instrumental in securing a building for the Island's daycare center for working parents that assured accessible and affordable services. The building is now known as the Children's Center.

  • 1965

    Newcomers Welcoming Committee

    The first Women's Association of Hilton Head Welcoming Committee was formed in 1965 as an Interest Group with members calling on new residents to acquaint them with the services and information available on the Island. In the early days, the committee was the Island's "Welcome Wagon." Gatherings for new residents came in the form of Informational Coffees, Meet and Greets, etc. This tradition still stands today, and the Association generally hosts three to six events annually. In 1992 the Ambassadors purchased a silver teapot and punch bowl from a local jeweler and were used for many years at welcoming functions. In 1990 WAHHI formed Newcomer's Club, and in 2002 a Newcomers Chairwoman was appointed to help assimilate new members into WAHHI. Today, our Hospitality Ambassadors represent our local neighborhoods to welcome new members and recruit prospective members. They also assist at WAHHI events, especially at quarterly membership meetings/luncheons. The active Hospitality Ambassadors in 2020-21 had to get creative to stay connected. They conducted smaller neighborhood group "meet ups" outside in backyards or driveways versus more formal and larger programs. Our new member orientation program used Zoom technology to meet new members and welcome them to our Association

  • 1980

    Youth Community Service Awards

    The Women's Association of Hilton Head's Youth Community Service Awards program began in 1980, under then-President Carol Wolf, who designed the program to reward Island students who, in those days, "had nothing much to do." The first award was a $75 savings account earned by Peggy Carey, a junior at May River Academy. Every year since, WAHHI has presented cash awards to deserving students from area high schools who have demonstrated outstanding community service. Over one hundred students have been recognized since the program's inception 40 years ago, and thousands of dollars have been awarded.

  • 1984

    Zonta Woman of the Year Award

    Beginning in 1984, the Zonta Club of Hilton Head Island established the Zonta Woman of the Year Award, presented annually at the Chamber Ball. Many of the award recipients are still living in the Hilton Head Area. The Zonta Woman of the Year recognizes a local woman who has made significant contributions and helped to improve the quality of life in our community. Nominees must currently live and work in the Hilton Head /Bluffton area, and primarily participate in community service benefiting Lowocuntry communities.

    Woman of the Year recipients
  • 1987

    Martha Baumberger

    Martha Baumberger, the first female chairman of the Beaufort County Council and the first female mayor of the Town of Hilton Head Island. She was the only woman in the Town's 40 year history and the 2nd mayor of the town.

    Martha Baumberger
    Submitted by the Zonta Club of HHI / Made possible by Martha Baumberger
  • 2016

    Women's Association of Hilton Head Island Charitable Fund

    In 2016-2017, the WAHHI Charitable Fund was formed by President Kathy Reynolds as a method of providing funds to the community. The WAHHI Charitable Fund, administered by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, provides grants to community organizations which support the Association's mission. The largest gift WAHHI made to the community was in 2011 in honor of its 50th Anniversary. Members raised funds, including developing and publishing "Garnished in Gold, a cookbook compilation of recipes by WAHHI members. With the proceeds, WAHHI renovated the Old Gabled Farmhouse, which is now called the Armstrong-Hack house, located on the 68-acre Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. Billie Hack, WAHHI's first President, and her husband Fred had owned and lived in the home for many years with their children. When their parents died, the Hack children sold the property to the Town of Hilton Head Island. Additional notable gifts made by WAHHI include:

    • Support for 28 Pathway Maps and Kiosks.
    • Support for a study room at the newly built Hilton Head Branch of the Beaufort County Public Library.
    • Gifting the Town with a bronze sculpture of a pelican reading a book titled "Tales of Hilton Head" and was created by Walter Palmer.
    • Support for the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina.
    • Support for the town of Hilton Head Island of Hilton Head to landscape the Town Center.
    • Funded a $500 Palmetto Award given to an exhibiting South Carolina artist at the first Art Market held at the Coastal Discovery Museum in 2003.

  • 2018

    The Breeze Trolley

    The Breeze Trolley service launches on Hilton Head Island, representing the first federally-funded, scheduled fixed-route public transportation in the Town's history.

    Ribbon Cuting Ceremony in front of Trolley
  • 2020

    Zonta Club of Hilton Head Island

    The Zonta Club of Hilton Head Island celebrates its 40th year of Service and Advocacy for Women and Girls, benefiting Hilton Head Island and the Lowcountry area.

    Zonta 40th anniversary Celebration

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