The little red school house at the corner of Ellis Hollow and Turkey Hill Roads (Hibbard's Corners) was unused and empty for more than a dozen years. At a school district meeting in 1950, Earl and Mabel DeMotte, owners of the land on which the school house stood, suggested that it be used for a community center. Interest in the idea grew. The following is an excerpt from minutes taken at the first meeting of the Ellis Hollow Community Association:
On January 30, 1952 Mr. and Mrs. Earl DeMotte, Mr. and Mrs. Rueben Shapley, Mr. and Mrs. Cuyler Page, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Post, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Musgrave met at the Post's to discuss the possibility of making a community center of the hold school house on the DeMotte property. The old building had no well or inside toilet facilities, but it was wired for electricity and the stove worked, but the chimney needed repairing.
A discussion followed of the uses to which the building might be put. 4-H and Boy Scout meetings, special Home Bureau meetings and the annual school meetings were mentioned along with a summer play program for young children and square dancing.
The cost of running the center was approximated at a minimum of $25 per year which covers insurance and electricity. Fuel would be donated and water carried from outside if needed. In addition, each interested family could contribute a small amount, such as 50 cents. The five families present decided to act as a committee with Kenneth Post as chairman to get the center underway. Each family paid 50 cents on expense fund, making a total of $2.50.
The men of the newly formed association agreed to meet in the school house in the latter part of April to see what work must be done. The women of the newly formed association would meet in the schoolhouse to see what furnishings are needed to make the place attractive.
The meeting was adjourned with everyone agreeing they were starting on a worthwhile and enjoyable project.
Mildred Musgrave, Secretary
"We wanted to provide some activities for the children," explained Eleanore Page, one of those present at the first Community Center organizational meeting. Over the years, there have been visits from Santa and Easter egg hunts for the little ones; Halloween parties, hay rides, and bowling nights for older children; dances for teen-agers; and ice skating, swimming, skiing, and Christmas caroling for everyone.
"Fun, fun fun!!!" says an exuberant report from the Senior High teenagers, May 1956. "Twelve dances, two hayrides, one ice skating party and one evening trail ride." The March 1956 Gazette reported, "The adults have been living it up to some extent. So far there have been three square dances for the old folks with an average attendance of 24 and a grand time was had by all." Square dances continued to be held the last Saturday of the month for the next 4 years.
Thursday night was bridge night at the old school house for several years. There have been exercise classes and art, dance, swimming, and baton twirling lessons. Residents have taught their neighbors Spanish, crocheting, basket weaving, how to play bridge, how to make quilts, how to color prints, and many other skills.
The bookmobile began stopping at the Community Center in 1967, and the Center became a polling place in 1975. Boy Scouts and 4-H groups meet regularly at the Center. There have often been Cub Scout dens and Brownie troops and baseball teams. Sporting goods exchanges have been held in the fall so residents can profitably swap old skis and skates. The best-attended activity, aside from the Fair, is the annual chicken barbecue. The Center building and grounds are available for use by any members. There have been many quilting and other work bees, countless meetings, group picnics, and at least one wedding.