city club of wilmington blog



September 2012

Great Gatsby Gala – JOIN the FUN!

Residents and visitors alike know that Wilmington has a very diverse social calendar.  Among the Southern belles and Hollywood extravaganzas, a few events do stand out—perhaps foremost among them the Gatsby Gala.  Hosted by City Club of Wilmington at the historic de Rosset house and sponsored by, the Gala recreates in detail the Roaring Twenties, the romantic Jazz Age commemorated in the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Live 1920s music in the garden.  Prohibition-era cocktails at the bar.  Models in period fashion and a burlesque show in the speakeasy. All set against a Gatsby-themed backdrop at the rooms of the house are reimagined in 1920s themes.  The historic spectacle springs from the fertile imagination of Jess James, Wilmington’s own style girl.  We were lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with Ms. James, for whom this year’s Gala is both a celebration of a rich period in American Fashion and the chance to honor an old friend:

I have been hosting style-based events monthly for the past several years and I must say, the Gatsby just might be my favorite. The Roaring 20’s were a time of high style, excess and romance! What can be better than a night to relive the Jazz Age dressed to the nines at one of the most beautiful estates in Wilmington?

It makes me sad to think of everyone who misses out on this event. It’s a special one!

Thursday night’s Gala is held in loving memory of Donna Crutchfield, my dear friend Amy Kennison’s mom, who just loved this event and was hoping to break out her flapper pearls once again. Donna will always be an inspiration, a lasting smile, the fairest rose in the garden and a loving angel to so many.

Decadence and romance, rich indulgence and deep sentiment: Ms. James captures the spirit of the 20s and the feeling of the affair with her typical grand fashion. The tone is set for an evening we’ll all remember for quite some time.

The Gatsby Gala is the only City Club event open to the public, and thus a great chance to introduce prospective members to everything the Club has to offer. The Club will be offering a generous 80% discount on the membership sign-up fee for this one night only.  For more information about the event, including purchasing tickets and a themed photo shoot, visit Jess James’s website


We hope to see you there!



Stories, old and new….

An old brick wall gives way to a terraced garden.  Rising away from the river, an azalea-lined walk leads to an immaculate antebellum mansion which lives on as an inviting oasis of grace and serenity, the embodiment of a time gone by.  After stepping through the stately doorway, the outside world drifts away with the creak of hardwood floors, the clink of cocktail glass, and the conversation of friends old and new.

Since its beginning in 1841, the de Rosset house has witnessed much in the life of its city.  In its latest incarnation, the City Club of Wilmington, it offers the perfect marriage of Southern hospitality and modern convenience.  But beyond being Wilmington’s premier social venue, it is also a link to a rich past. Through this blog, we’ll be exploring the stories which live within these walls.  These are the stories of a family and their fortunes, the stories of a city and the role it played in the birth and growth of a nation.  It is the story of a dynamic contemporary community, where Southern charm, local culture and Hollywood glamour have come together to create something new.  Above all, it is the story of a house which moved through the years without ever ceasing to be a home.

I hope the stories—both old and new—that we capture here serve to remind us of our place in history.  We are not merely witnesses but participants, as much a part of these brick-lined streets and elegant gardens as those who came before.  The roles we play and the events of our lives become part of a much greater narrative which connects us to the past even as we build the future.

On behalf of the City Club of Wilmington, I invite you to begin your own exploration of both past and present.  Join us, and become part of the story.

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