glencliff

2019 Seven to Save: Glencliff Willing Workers Hall

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The Glencliff Willing Workers Hall dates to 1920 when women and their “better halves” (according to a letter from the first president!) gathered to build a social hall to further their mission of helping each other through hard times. The women knitted, quilted, cooked, and crafted to raise funds to support children, elderly, and sick residents. In the 1930s, they raised enough additional money to add a rear kitchen and bathroom addition.

 The hall became the epicenter of village life in Glencliff and surrounding towns. Regular fundraisers included card parties, dances, suppers, concerts, original plays, holiday parties, sing-alongs, bean-o games, minstrel shows, and traveling vaudeville performances. In 1921 – seventeen years before electricity came to the village – the hall was electrified for movie screenings. During the Great Depression, the hall served as a social outlet for nearby East Warren Civilian Conservation Corps workers. Several corps members volunteered to act in plays and help serve suppers.

 The first president, May Fifield, wrote that “The hall has provided a neat, cozy and attractive place of social and intellectual functions.” Today, the hall remains owned by the Willing Workers and the group continues to organize community events that benefit children and families in need.

 Unfortunately, though, the organization’s sign attached to the side of the building is more ironic than indicative of the organization’s good work. The building suffers from decades of deferred maintenance, and now faces a laundry list of work to be done, including a roof, foundation repair, exterior painting, and window repair.

 According to Deb Dickmann, the president of the Willing Workers, “We’re happy to have been determined eligible for the State and National Register.  Our fundraising efforts at this time are dedicated to raising money to restore our historical building.  In our effort to keep our building standing for the next century, we hope your recognition will provide the attention we need to succeed in our restoration.  We are extremely grateful.”