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Lafemme Arts Club works to beautify downtown Vandalia one planter at a time

Posted on Friday, December 3, 2021 at 5:13 am


By Woodrow Polston

The Lafemme Arts Club has been busy this year with efforts to beautify Vandalia. Originally formed in 1955, the club has successfully accomplished many projects over the years. Some of those projects include building flower boxes for businesses, purchasing trash cans for parks, and they have also been responsible for placing and maintaining the hanging flower baskets downtown. One of the biggest projects that the club was involved with in the past, was the building of the North and South Railroad Parks back in 1980.
A relatively recent project included the removal of overgrown trees in the old depot lot that sits off of State Street and Main.
“The trees that were standing there were planted in the 1980s,” said Ann Kohl. “The reason why the trees needed to be taken out, was that there were square boxes around them and they have become root bound. And so, the trees were cut down, and then the city came in and dug out the squares and cleared the debris,” she added.
Having cleared out the old trees and boxes, which had compromised the asphalt on the parking lot, it was up to the ladies of the Lafemme Club to find replacement trees. After careful consideration, they decided to go with the Royal Rainbow trees, which were donated by the Glassford group LLC.
“We chose the Royal Rainbow for its beauty and its size. The trees will only grow to about 18 feet at full maturity, which is an ideal size for this location,” said Kohl. “The city is also going to come back to the lot and place some decorative stones around the trees at a later date,” she added. Everyone in the club agreed that once the landscaping stones are added, the lot will be in a much better state than when they began the project.
Other activities that the club has been working on, include the maintaining and watering of the flowers that were in the hanging baskets around the center of town. Those planters have been taken down for the winter season. The group has also been pulling weeds, planning for future projects, and most recently, they placed the big red bows on the large flowerpots at the four-way intersection of State and Main streets.
Even though there’s still plenty to do, the group said it is not ready to jump back into another big project.
“We need a break,” several of them exclaimed. “They are not in a big hurry to start the next project,” said Club President Linda Klug. “We have made efforts to recruit some younger ladies that can pitch in and help us out with these projects. But all attempts have been unsuccessful,” she added.
The current members that remain in the club, are all in their 70s and 80s, and said they would be appreciative of some help from new and younger members. Anyone interested in joining the club, may contact Klug at 573-489-1888. Anyone interested in donating funds to help with upcoming projects, can mail a check or money order to Lafemme Arts Club Treasurer, at 314 Utterback, Vandalia, MO 63382.