Community
July 16, 2020
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Honoring the women of Cotati

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
October 18, 2019

On Nov. 3 the Cotati Historical Society will be holding a special, free event to honor the women of Cotati who contributed to the community over the last century.

“Originally we were invited by the West County Museum in Sebastopol to join with neighboring museums and historical societies to create an exhibit on women who were significant to our local history,” says Judy Gustafson, Archiving Administrator and Board Member of the Cotati Historical Society.  “The West County Museum will open the joint exhibit during Dec. and run thru mid March. As a result of gathering information and considering our local women in Cotati’s history, we decided to also present our local ladies at our own annual Fall event, something we host every year on various subjects that may be of interest to our membership and the community.”

The event, which will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Cotati Room behind Cotati City Hall, will feature local panelists who will share stories of three influential women in particular. These women, Ethel Clothier, Marguerite Hahn and Prue Draper, lived in the community from the 1920s to the 2010s.

“Several of the board members and other volunteers grew up in Cotati and have childhood memories of Ethel Clothier, Marguerite Hahn and Prue Draper, as well as getting to know them later in life,” says Gustafson. “The three we are honoring have made significant contributions to Cotati through the years, the details of which will be presented at our Fall event and display and available at the museum in the months to come.”

Ethel Clothier was a 1930s Cotati businesswoman, Marguerite Hahn acted as the Cotati librarian, fire department dispatcher, World War II nurse, and local news correspondent and Prue Draper edited The Cotatian newspaper for many years and helped found the society and museum.

“Women’s roles in Cotati have evolved over the years just as women’s roles in general have evolved,” says Gustafson. “These three were actually before their time with their contributions and foresight.  We will have a speaker for each woman to describe her contributions to Cotati.”

Marie McNaughton will speak about the spirited women who founded Cotati’s first Ladies’ Improvement Club and the city’s first female voters. In addition, the Cotati Historical Society hopes to open the forum to anyone else who would like to honor a Cotati woman of their choosing with stories, pictures and/or artifacts. Anyone wishing to contribute or volunteer can contact the Cotati Historical Society at 707-794-0305, at chsinfo@sonic.net, or online at www.cotatihistoricalsociety.org.