80th Anniversary

A celebration of ‘community’ at the North Warren Presbyterian Church Community House

Photo submitted to Times Observer A celebration of the history of the Community House and a sale of the Civic Club’s china and silverplate will be held at the Community House on Sunday, April 29, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.(Original photo by Everett Stoke).

The North Warren Community House was originally dedicated on April 29, 1938. A celebration of its 80th Anniversary will be hosted by the North Warren Presbyterian Church on Sunday, April 29, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., open to the public.

The party will feature refreshments and memorabilia from the history of the building and the community as well as a sale of china and silver-plate originally belonging to the North Warren Civic Club. Join us for the party and go home with some pieces of North Warren history.

The Community House was originally conceived as a project of the North Warren Civic Club which had existed under many names and with many meeting places from at least the 1920s. Funds to construct a meeting hall that could also serve as a community recreation site and “to advance the social and intellectual welfare of the citizens of North Warren” were raised in fun and creative ways throughout the Depression. Fund-raisers included annual Halloween Carnivals beginning in 1935, ice-skating at the Phillips ice pond near Venturetown, selling $5 shares, bingo, minstrel shows, and even a baseball game between the Homestead Grays and the Philadelphia Stars.

The building cost $36,000 as constructed.

In its 80 years, uses of the North Warren Community House have reflected changing times, social preferences, and changing population. In its early days, annual events included Ladies Night in December, the Civic Club Banquet in February, and the annual meeting of the Civic Club in May. In a manner unimaginable to today’s volunteer organizations, these dinners were dress-up affairs with volunteers in the kitchen and full service china and silver-plate. The china and silver plate will be on sale at the Anniversary Celebration on April 29.

Card parties, round and square dances, gym classes for men, boys, and older and younger girls were held on weekday evenings. Boy Scout Troop 13, still a major user of the building, was launched in the 1940s, and Jim Rock was the troop’s first Eagle Scout in 1945. Through the 1940s, the building hosted a Homemakers’ Club as well as chaperoned weekly dances for young people. A lending library operated out fo the building for a time. The Conewango Township School Board rented some space activities and classes, including an original operetta written by teachers Dorothy Lincoln and Dorothea Blair Loper. Later productions under other leadership included Running Wild and Oklahoma, the Hoxie Brothers Circus, and several big bands performed there as well.

Nonetheless, with changing times, the North Warren Civic Club membership fell too low to sustain its ownership of the building. In April 1982, the building was deeded to the North Warren Presbyterian Church, and has been run by a church committee including church and community members for the last 36 years. During this time, fund-raising, community donations, grants, and rent from users of the facility have provided the funding for maintenance and improvements, including a complete replacement of the gym floor and addition of an accessible bathroom on the main floor.

In later years, the Community House continued to serve the schools system and Boy Scouts. Later, the Economic Opportunity Council used classrooms created in the basement for Head Start, and the Community House kitchen was used to prepare all Head Start meals in Warren County for a period in the late 80s.

North Warren Biddy Basketball was based in the Community House until 5th grade was moved to Beaty Middle School in 1989. In 1990, with Head Start relocated to McClintock School and other facilities, the Goodwill family saw the need for a Day Care Center which continues to thrive in the Community House.

The North Warren Community House embodies much of what is wonderful about Warren County — the opportunity to live in a community that celebrates its rich history while continually adapting to the needs of the present.

The public is invited to the celebration.