WCTU was founded in Ohio in 1874, and the WCTU of Southern California was formed in 1882, where it rapidly grew in throughout the state in such areas as San Diego, Orange County, Northern California, and Southern California.
At a time when women couldn't even vote, WCTU made numerous contributions to our society. We emboldened women to get a college degree, encouraged children to go to kindergarten, and cared for injured soldiers after the Civil War.
Many men returned from the War addicted to alcohol and unable to support their families. The Lewis family was greatly affected by this addiction. Mrs. Lewis would awaken her young son to get his father out of the saloon. When Dio Lewis was a young man, he remembered his mother praying for his father to stop his drinking and to be a family man again. He promised his mother he would never be a drunk. Mr. Lewis grew up to become Dr. Lewis, a prominent Boston doctor, where he gave lectures on the effects of alcohol on the body and how it affected his family. His father eventually stopped drinking in answer to his mother's prayers.
While in Ohio, Dr. Lewis gave a lecture and was asked by some men if he could speak at their church the following day. He influenced the women to pray, like his mother did. They all prayed and the next morning they gathered together to write a letter of intent and retribution. 300 men prayed while the women walked into the saloon. When they entered they were given permission to sing a hymn and pray. They asked the owner to close his saloon because it was affecting their families. This was the start of the war against saloon owners and alcohol establishments, which was followed by the prohibition movement.
Properties of WCTU Southern California
WCTU of Southern California was formed in 1882
They originally owned a building on Temple Street, which was later bought by the state.
They also previously owned the Home for Women in Eagle Rock.
The current property of WCTU Southern California was purchased in 1952.
It is located on 551 South Kingsley Drive, Los Angeles, California 90020