Hull Community Club

From Banner County and Its People, 1982, Vol. 1 pgs 262-264

The Hull Project Club was organized in October, 1921. Several neighbors gathered at the home of John and Cordie George. Mr. Phil Sheldon, Scotts Bluff County Agent, and Miss Ethel Ritchert, home demonstration agent, were in charge, and proceeded to aid in forming the Hull Project Club.

After dinner was served, the men went to the potato cellar, where Mr. Sheldon proceeded to examine the potatoes John George had recently harvested. A few showed signs of ring rot and damage. Mr. Sheldon explained the cause and effect.

In the house, Miss Ritchert instructed the women about making dress forms. Projects which followed at meetings were: Making hats, dress patterns, demonstration of sewing machine attachments, and home nursing. Two other demonstration agents were Lulu Boyes, who married Harley Shaver of Scottsbluff and Mary Mae Holms, who married Harold Wells of Gering Valley.

The following people attended that first meeting: Lawrence and Mable Warner, Bert and Leila Warner, Fred and Nora Card, Charlie and Hazel Stoddard, Lynn and Hazel Williams, Ralph and Esther Thompsett, Al and Lu Preston, and John and Cordie George.

Later it was decided to discontinue the project work and to use ideas of the members. Articles were made from gesso such as book ends, picture frames and vases. Silhouette pictures and friendship quilts were made. Later the members made flowers from nylon hose that had been dyed different colors—also winter bouquets from native grasses and plants. Aluminum trays and decorated wooden plates and many other things were made.

For a number of years, the May meeting was set aside to work at the cemetery. The monument for the Unknown Dead was put up during the depression through the efforts of the club. It replaced a small wooden monument. The arches and gates at the west side of the cemetery were put up about 1950.

For a number of years, a booth was put up in the Agricultural Hall at Mitchell at the Scottsbluff County Fairgrounds. Finally, most of the members lost interest and the booth was discontinued.

The club meals have always been covered dish affairs at noon, with the hostesses furnishing the meat, potatoes, vegetable and bread. The other members bring dessert or salad. There always seemed to be a good assortment, although one time they had seven dishes of potato salad and one cake. A large number of men attended the winter meetings at one time, but not many come anymore. The men enjoyed the meals and the socializing.

Another worthwhile project was the boxes sent at Christmas time to the Nebraska Children’s Home. One year dress material was bought and passed out for each member to make an article of clothing for the box. For several years they pieced quilts, tied and sent them. Toys were usually included and one time a layette was prepared for the home.

Christmas boxes of treats were sent to the boys in the services in December, 1942. They were sent to: Bob Stoddard, Dean Stoddard, Wayne Dunn, William Dunn, Bob Preston, Carroll Card, Marvin Matthews, James Nighswonger, Arlan Earley, Wesley Blanton, Joe Mitchell, Bill Thompsett and James Ortery. This was continued until the end of WWII. It was begun again in 1966. It is interesting to note that boxes were sent, at this time, to sons of some of the boys who received the first ones in 1942. Scrap books were made during WWII and sent to some of the Veterans’ Hospitals.

When the Community Building was put was put up in 1950 the club helped with furnishing it. Numerous suppers and a father-son banquet were held to raise money. Coupons were saved for silverware and greeting cards were sold. The club sponsored a play, “Hillbilly Courtship”, in 1951. Persons taking part in the play were: Clinton Stoddard, Eleanor Card, Luceal Thompsett, Wanda Card, Hazel Warner, Clarence Stoddard, Johnny Rourke, Elmo Blanton, Claude Kelley, Myrna Stoddard, and Lloyd Stoddard. The money from the play was used to buy chairs for the community building

The last few years the club members have made tray favors for both the hospitals. This past summer, some were made for Pleasant Valley Rest Home in Gering.

In 1970 each member collected favorite recipes of her own and from other members of the community and put them together and had a cookbook printed. It was a big success and more had to be ordered.

In February 1951, the early members were honored at a 30th Anniversary meeting at Eleanor Preston’s home. The following early members were present and honored: Mrs. Lillie Warner, Elsie Kelley, Hazel Williams, Iva Langmaid, Leila Warner and Cordie George.

In September 1971, the Club had a special meeting in honor of their 50th Anniversary. The meeting was held in the home of Mrs. Jack Preston, the site of the first meeting. Special memorial year books were also published that year.

During the 1970s the Hull Community Club continued as an active group. Members have kept up with projects such as making tray favors for the hospitals, collecting Christmas gifts to be sent to the Veteran’s Hospital and the Nebraska Children’s Home. Members have learned many new crafts at meetings and have used several meetings to visit places of interest, such as Brown’s Wool Mill and Schaneman’s Toy Factory.

A special project for the club in 1981 was decorating the stage for the Old Settler’s Meetings during Oregon Trail Days Celebration in Gering. The committee in charge chose as their theme a one-room ranch cabin and the surrounding outdoors. Many antiques were collected for the cabin interior, including a wooden table, iron bed, patchwork quilt, wash boiler, bench and wash board and an iron cook stove. Articles depicting a typical dooryard was a saddle and cowboy gear, branding irons a plow and scythe.

In August 1981, a special family picnic was held at Gardner Park in Gering to celebrate the 69th Anniversary of the Hull Community Club. Early club members present were: Hazel Williams, Elsie Kelley, and Mabel Loughman. Early members unable to attend were: Mabel Warner and Ruth Ammerman. Club pictures and histories appeared in several local newspapers. Once again the club printed a special yearbook in honor of the 60th year.

A scrapbook and history of the club has been compiled and is on display in the Banner County Museum.