Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Iredell County HD Women Building a Meeting Place, 1949

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the Charlotte Observer, July 4, 1949

Mrs. Myrtle Westmoreland, home agent of Iredell County, says that when the Oakdale School was consolidated with the Cool Spring School in that community, the Oakdale community was left without any suitable gathering place. The Oakdale club had a membership of 40 farm women and there was no meeting place in the neighborhood large enough for them to attend to their regular club business to say nothing of their public gatherings.

The Oakdale club had always had an aggressive leadership, sponsoring movements for buying equipment for the lunch room of the local school, furnishing reference books for the library, and other such community enterprises. So when the school was consolidated with the Cool Springs outfit, the women turned their energies in another direction. They started to thinking about a community center of their own.

In 1941, they used the money that they had saved to buy U.S. Savings Bonds. With this as a nest egg, they began to collect funds by all available means to build the long-desired club house or community center. Money-making plans were started. They solicited dinners of every kind for all the organizations meeting in that neighborhood and the members contributed the produce from which the dinners were made. They gave, free of charge, their chickens, eggs, milk, vegetables, and pantry supplied. This meant that every dinner was all clear profit.

Last fall, a neighboring club allowed the Oakdale women to use its club house for a family night party. Here all the husbands and friends were invited for a big picnic supper. The husbands attended almost 100 per cent. The women fed them well, got them in a fine, good humor, and then sat down to a little business session. The ladies point out to the men how valuable such a community enterprise could be to a farming neighborhood, and almost before they knew it, the husbands were digging down into their pockets to contribute money enough to buy a lot, and timber to frame the proposed structure.

Not only did the men give money enough to pay for the lot but they decided upon the lot they would buy. This lot is a wooded area about four miles east of Statesville on the Mocksville highway and is in the heart of the Oakdale community. It is not level and required a bit of grading to get a suitable driveway. One of the men volunteered his bulldozer and did the grading and dug a basement.

A building committee was appointed by Mrs. J. Coite Fox, president of the Oakdale Home Demonstration Club, with Mrs. Gilbert Bell as chairman. The house was carefully planned with some advice and further suggestions from experienced specialists at North Carolina State College. When the final blueprints had been drawn, committees were appointed to have charge of the driveway, the timber supply, labor supply, well and pump, pine paneling, cabinets needed, floor covering, and the electrical wiring and outlets.

The community set June 1 as the day for construction to begin. The men of the community met and laid the foundations of the new home on that date. An agreement was reached as to future work days at which time the men would all gather for work on the building. On each workday, the women are feeding these volunteer carpenters with picnic lunches. Mrs. Fox says, “Our dream of a home of our own is at last coming true.”

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