An Illustration of Community Planning: The Waverly Community House

In 1925, the United States Department of Agriculture distributed their March Farmers Bulletin titled: “Rural Planning, the Village.” This booklet touches on a number of topics with an emphasis on planning, improving, and sustaining small communities within the United States. The opening passage in the bulletin reads as follows: “This booklet is an Rural Planning Coverattempt to answer questions on village planning by giving instances of what has been done in numerous villages in the United States, as well as to indicate the importance of such planning, and the facility with which valuable results may be attained. It will also show, by actual accomplishment what may be done to improve the average country village.”

Upon reading the preceding passage, it should come as no surprise that the Waverly Community House was not only featured as an exceptional community planning example, but its aerial shot also graced the cover of the publication. Of the beloved building, the Farmer’s Bulletin contains the following excerpt:

A Well-Placed Community Center adds to an Otherwise Beautiful Village, Waverly PA

“The farming village of Waverly, PA already possessed many good planning features, with its curving roads and streets following the physical contour of the country, its inviting road gateways, the clean fringe about the town, attractive farmsteads and gardens, neat public and private buildings on broad lawns, and the wealth of well placed trees. The airplane view on the cover page shows that the community building and public playground have been placed in the center of the village on main street, a position in keeping with their nature. The well appointed building has in its basement bowling alleys, a pool room, a barber shop, and showers. On the first floor are the post office, canteen, reading room, sun parlor, lounge, reception room, assembly hall with its moving picture booth, and women’s showers. On the second floor are the public library including its radio set, and the private apartment of the secretaries. The Community House supports a trained nurse for the village and farming community, a free kindergarten, and art, handiwork, dramatic, sewing, basketry, and playground classes. It is also the headquarters of the town supervisors, the school board, the grange, and the parent teachers association. It is also the center for elections, school commencements, and other exercises.”

The Rural Planning Bulletin was one of the first national publications to recognize the Waverly Community House for all its treasured attributes. As is the case with all of our archival materials, this booklet remains immeasurably significant today as the Comm approaches its centennial anniversary in a few short years. As we advance towards this milestone, we continue to honor our past, by always making it an effort to feature it in our present, and our future.