Concerned about their families when dusty Bucks County roads caused a variety of health-related issues, 14 women gathered on April 26, 1895 and formed the Village Improvement Association of Doylestown (VIA) to be dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Central Bucks community. Early on, the group arranged to eliminate dust in the streets and later established the first visiting nurse service in Doylestown. In 1923 they founded Doylestown Hospital.
The VIA was the first Women’s Club established in Bucks County. The stated mission of the VIA is to enhance the quality of life in the community through service and education. Throughout the year, VIA committees work to fulfill the organization’s responsibilities to meet its mission, administer operations, maintain the James-Lorah Memorial Home and to explore mutual interests.
The VIA has grown in size and scope to its present membership of more than 300 women, many of whom are a vital presence at Doylestown Hospital. The VIA also oversees Pine Run Retirement Community. Today, the organization’s efforts go beyond health services supporting the local community. Additionally, it offers one-time grants to community efforts and educational scholarships.
The VIA is proud to call the James-Lorah Memorial Home at 132 North Main Street in Doylestown its headquarters. The 17-room residence, its contents and a trust fund for maintenance were bequeathed to the organization in 1954 by Sarah M. James, a charter member of the VIA.Today, the Federal-style building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
To learn more about the VIA, visit the website at VIA-Doylestown.org.