Festive Fall Fun: October at the Waverly Community House

Each year, as autumn approaches the Northeastern Pennsylvania region, the Waverly Community House prepares for a very busy season full of activities to close out the remainder of the year. From costume parties, parades, children’s events, club meetings, classes, and other special programming, the building is enveloped in activity. Today’s blog post will highlight what makes the Comm so special during this time of year by taking a look at one of our archival newsletters from October of 1988. Enjoy!

Art Classes by Predrag Djordjevic: on October 10th, 1988, the Waverly Community House began a series of children’s art classes taught by artist Predrag Djordjevic. Djordjevic was born in Yugoslavia and studied at the Royal College of Art in London, England; he is a painter who has held one man shows throughout the United States and abroad. That year, Predrag taught children aged 9-12 drawing and painting in an effort to introduce them to new ways to tailor their craft. Art has always been an important part of the Comm’s mission and will continue to reflect on our mission statement through new art classes and programs currently under development for the upcoming year.

Parent Education Series: the Continuing Parent Education Series at the Waverly Community House was a sponsored program aiming to provide parents with advice, education, and guidance on a wide variety of topics. Childcare services were also provided at the Comm during the program for parents accompanied by their children. On October 5th, 1988, the series was hosted by Ruby Moye Salazar, a Ph.D. holder from Ohio State University specializing in developmental disabilities.

New York City Fall Bus Trip: On Wednesday October 26th, 1988, a bus trip, organized by the Waverly Women’s Club, departed from the Comm at 8:00 am., headed for New York City. The group then returned to the Comm at 10:30 pm. Tickets for this trip were $13.50 per person. This was one of the many opportunities for community members to engage in different types of activities with one another as organized through the Comm and it’s clubs.

Roller Skating at the Comm: In October of 1988, Roller Skating was held in the Comm’s gymnasium. The newsletter reads as follows: “Beginning on October 1st, the Comm will sponsor Roller Skating in the Gym from 10:30 am- 12 noon. So grab your skates, (or well soiled shoes as we only have clamp on skates) and come to the Comm. Our in-house DJ, Pete Sawchak will provide good music! If you have any questions please contact the Comm’s office.”

unnamedSome Ghostly Good News: The Comm held its annual Children’s Halloween Party on Monday, October 31st 1988 in the gymnasium from 3:30 pm- 5:30 pm. The party was free and refreshments were provided. This year, community members can look forward to a Harry Potter themed Halloween Party held at the Comm on Saturday, October 27th from 1 pm- 3 pm.

Some additional events from the October 1988 Newsletter…

United Methodist Church Bake Sale: October 12th, 1988 at 8:00 am.

Movie Night at the Comm: October 14th, 1988 at 7:00 pm.

Italian Hoagie Sale: October 14th, 1988 at 2:00 pm.

We would like to take this time to give a very special thank you to all of our very valued community members and followers. We love being able to share our history with you!

Collective American Memory: Post Civil War Commemoration at the Waverly Community House

The American Civil War remains one of the defining events in United States history; between 1861-1865, American soil was inhabited by conflicts, battles, and general unrest. This four year war between the Union and Confederate armies forever changed the country’s dynamic leaving lasting effects throughout the nation. This crucial period in American history is recognized and commemorated through publications, archive collections, and various other means of remembrance. One particular way that the Civil War stays in American memory is through the organization of veterans groups and associations designed to serve as a meeting ground in the post- war world dedicated to linking individuals together through their collective war experiences. In addition to providing a refuge for runaway slaves during the Underground Railroad Movement, Waverly also served as a significant meeting ground for the aforementioned early Veterans’ Association meetings following the war. These meetings were held at the Waverly Community House and were well received and highly attended; this is exemplary of the Comm’s dedication to community needs throughout history.

In an archival letter dated July 29th, 1927, Mr. W.T. Simpson, organization president writes:

Dear Comrade,

The Civil War Union Veterans’ Association of the counties of Broome, NY, Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, and Wyoming Pennsylvania will hold their reunion at the Waverly Community House in Waverly, Pennsylvania on Friday July 29th, 1927. It will be held at 9 am and continue all day. Two bus lines will leave Scranton for Waverly as follows: the Scranton and Binghamton area has a bus leaving from the station at 231 Wyoming Avenue at 8 and 10 am, returning bus leaves Waverly at 2:10, 4:10, and 6:05 pm. There is another bus leaving from the 600 block of Lackawanna Avenue near the D L& W Station at 9:30 am and 12:40 pm. This bus leaves Waverly at 3:34, 6:04, and 9:14 pm. This invitation is extended to members of the Womens’ Relief Corps, Daughters of the Union Veterans, GAR Circle and their auxiliaries, and Sons of the Union Veterans and their auxiliaries. Dinner will be served free to all present. Hoping a large number will come and “Rally around the Flag” once more.

A short time later, a follow up letter was sent to the Waverly Community House addressed to Paul Belin. This archival piece reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Belin,

At the Annual Meeting of the Seven County Reunion, held at the Waverly Community House on July 29th, 1927, a resolution was adopted to send you a tremendous vote of thanks for your kindness in carrying out your mother’s wishes and making it possible for us to have one of the most enjoyable reunions ever held. Everything certainly was arranged for the comfort of all present and we want you to feel that we highly appreciate it. 

Finally, an additional letter sent to Mr. Belin from the Daughters of Union Veterans indicates:

Mr. Belin,

CW2On behalf of Elizabeth DeLacy Tent N. 10 Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War, I wish to express our sincere thanks for the courtesy and wonderful dinner given by you, in your mother’s memory, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the old veterans and members of our Tent at the recent Seven Counties Reunion in Waverly PA.

In the letters above, it is revealed that Paul Belin served as one of the principal organizers of the reunion dinners in memory of his mother Margaretta; her death that preceding February remained in the background of the occasion however, it respectfully did not overshadow the primary message of the event– to honor the Union veterans of the United States. These types of events became prominent throughout the country in the years following the Civil War which demonstrates the national imperative to collectively commemorate this period of time in American history. The Waverly Community House, still relatively new at the time, certainly made an impression on the authors of the above written letters by serving as a meeting ground for their much valued reunion. In the years to come, the Comm would develop and serve the community in various similar ways; with its centennial anniversary approaching, all of these ways will be highlighted in our blog and we look forward to continuing to provide our readers with these significant historical milestones.

‘Tis the Season: Holiday Celebrations at the Waverly Community House

“We are always glad for the opportunity to turn the pages of the year and there we find much interest and significance. We find a spirit of helpfulness, friendliness, and cooperation among our staff and community members. The same spirit brings us excellent volunteer leaders for our clubs and classes; it has also brought us a community Christmas tree from the Waverly Grange. It has made possible the work of various committees and the Board of Trustees, and the great success of our programs. On the page of memory, which will remain with us always, we find the meaning of true friendship in the interest, understanding, sympathy, and generosity of Mrs. Henry Belin Jr. who has made possible for us this work.” (Gertrude Coursen, December 1929)

The Waverly Community House has always finished each year with both new and traditional programs to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season with community members. As the Comm brings another promising year to a close, this post will serve to reflect on some of the historical celebrations of years past.  We would also like to remind everyone that the Waverly Community House Archives is open daily through appointment for anyone who would like to access our space; contact information will be supplied down below. Stay tuned for updates, volunteer opportunities, and more via our blog; we have lots of new developments which will be taking place in 2018.

Christmas Carol Program 1Seasonal Christmas Productions: Theatrical productions served as a prominent way that the Waverly Community House would celebrate the holiday season. Such plays would take place during the month of December and would feature a different theme each year. On December 20th, 1944, the annual play was titled “the Community Christmas Program” and was directed by Frances Dewey Fausold. The production was held at 8pm in the Comm’s auditorium and was heavily inspired by the work of playwright Joyce Vernon Drake. This year, community members can look forward to attending “A Christmas Carol” at the Comm performed by Robert Hughes this Friday, December 15th at 7pm; it is open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

Music Programs: In a similar fashion, the Waverly Community House held a variety of musical programs to ring in the Christmas season. On Christmas night, 1941 the Comm held a candlelit caroling program featuring songs, poems, and stories. The accompanying piece to this production features performances such as:

“The Holly and the Ivy” (solo)

“Ring out Sweet Bells” (carol)

“A Carol for the Children” (poem)

“A Christmas Letter” (story)

This program ended with a story entitled “The House of Christmas,” and was heavily attended by community members after their family gatherings.

Another way the Comm celebrated the season with music was through the organization of Christmas carolers. Each year, beginning in the 1930’s, the Boy and Girl Scouts would assemble a gathering of Christmas carolers to travel the neighborhood stopping at each house with a lit candle in their window. This tradition would typically take place on Christmas Eve and lasted for nearly a decade.

Community House Canteen: The Waverly Comm Canteen would also partake in a festive overhaul during the holidays; in early December, notices were sent out reminding community members that the Canteen was stocked up on Christmas candy for the public to utilize as gifts. A December 9th, 1933 notice reads as follows:

“Save yourself a trip to Scranton and order your family boxes of Christmas candy at the Community House Canteen. We also have decorated wrapping paper, twine, Christmas cards, and seals.”

Community members certainly took advantage of this offer, often purchasing many of their holiday essentials at the Waverly Community House Canteen.

Toy Donations: Toy donations were one of the many ways the Comm encouraged community members to give back during the Christmas season. During the winter months, the Comm would take donations of gently used toys and other items to donate to those less fortunate. Any broken toys would be repaired at the Comm before given out at the Annual Children’s Christmas Party. Many members of the public participated in this activity and began the Christmas season in the spirit of giving through the Waverly Community House.

Comm WinterThroughout the years, the Waverly Community House has withstood the test of time through its spirit of community and giving back. The Comm has served to bring community members together in various ways and the holiday season was no exception. As we bring 2017 to an end, community members can look forward to all of the great programs that 2018 will have to offer at the Waverly Community House. Stay tuned for all the exciting new developments. As always, we wish all of our valued community members a safe and happy holiday season.

The Waverly Community House Archives is located in the Comm’s South Wing; we can be reached at (570) 586-8191 ex. 7, or via email at greviello@waverlycomm.org.

 

Autumn Traditions at the Waverly Community House

The autumn season has always been full of activity at the Waverly Community House; throughout the years, the Comm has held many trips, parades, dances, masquerades, and theatrical productions in celebration of the fall and subsequent occasions such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. This post will focus on some of the ways the Waverly Community House has celebrated this time of year in the past, while also revealing what we currently have in store for the upcoming season. Community members will have a great deal to anticipate as the Comm finishes another fantastic, fun filled year.

Halloween DanceHalloween Celebrations: Beginning in the 1920’s, Halloween has been celebrated in numerous ways at the Comm; costume parties, dances, masquerades, and parades filled the calendar in October every year as children and adults prepared for the fall season. In 1928, the Comm held a Halloween Masquerade Dance for adults which was filled with dancing, refreshments, and music; 18th century colonial attire was the common theme of the event as costumed adults poured into the building for a night of festive entertainment. Similar events were also held for children, usually held by the Boy and Girl Scouts on Halloween afternoon; an invitation from the 1928 event reads as follows: “You are invited to a Halloween Frolic on Wednesday, October 31st from 3-5 pm at the Waverly Community House.” As the years passed, Halloween has always remained a celebratory occasion at the Comm and to commemorate the holiday this year, there will be a Family Halloween Party held on Saturday, October 28th from 1-230 pm; on this year’s schedule: a haunted house, trick or treat, crafts, games, dancing and a bake sale.

Fall Concerts: Autumn concerts began in the 1920’s and were presented by the Waverly Grade School and Jr. Sr. High School. These productions typically took place in early November and were filled with numerous themed musical numbers and demonstrations. The program for the 1942 Fall Concert includes acts thematically named “Salute to the Armed Forces,” “Salute to Washington,” and “Our Flag.” These concerts continued for years and often took place numerous times throughout the season; this was yet another way that the Waverly Community House utilized the arts in celebration, which still continues in our current programming.

Autumn Theatrical Productions: Another popular way the Waverly Community House celebrated the seasonal change was through theatrical productions. Each November beginning in 1926, the Comm would hold its “Thanksgiving Play.” This demonstration was given by the Waverly Grade School and Jr. Sr. High School. The program from the 1936 production indicates that it took place on November 25th at 2pm and featured a waltz, march, and proclamation.

Thanksgiving 1940Thanksgiving Dances: During the 1920’s and 30’s, dances were a very popular way to commemorate many occasions at the Waverly Community House and Thanksgiving was no exception. Each year, the Waverly Athletic Association held the annual Thanksgiving Dance at the Waverly Community House. This festive dance featured orchestral music and refreshments; admission was fifty cents. The invitation from the 1926 Thanksgiving Dance reads as follows: “The Waverly Athletic Association is giving a Thanksgiving Dance on Friday evening, November 26th, 1926. Good music– Eddie Moore’s Orchestra. Prize Fox Trot, confetti, streamers, and a guaranteed good time.”

Thanksgiving Night at the Waverly Community House: Shortly after the Comm opened in the 1920’s, another Thanksgiving tradition was born. In early November, community members were sent letters inviting them to the Waverly Community House Thanksgiving night following their dinner celebrations for “candy, dessert, and coffee.” This sentiment only lasted a few years however it served as an endearing, intimate way that the Comm encouraged community gathering and celebration.

CaptureThroughout the years, the Waverly Community House has served to bring community members together in various different ways; as the Comm aims to finish another year, community members can look forward to events such as: The Northeast PA Film Festival’s opening night, Halloween Party, Artisan’s Marketplace,and much more. Happy Fall!

End of Summer Celebration: Labor Day at the Waverly Community House

In the 1930’s and 40’s, the Waverly Community House– still in its early years of development, held annual events in observance of Labor Day. Considered the unofficial end of summer by many, Labor Day was celebrated at the Comm with many recreational activities designed to appeal to all age groups. On a letter sent out to all community members dated August 15th, 1933, physical director of the Comm Wallace Rubright writes: “With the desire to make Labor Day a pleasant holiday for our townspeople, we have roughly outlined a plan which we believe would make for much fun and enjoyment of those participating. Events will start at 9:00 am. Take particular notice of the dancing for the evening, we are arranging to have good music and light refreshments. Admission will be 25 cents for the ladies and 50 cents for the gentlemen. We ask for your kindly support in checking the events you wish to enter and returning this form. Any suggestions or requests will be appreciated sincerely.” The events list enclosed contains an outline of the above mentioned events and activities which began at the Comm at 9 am. Some of the functions included: tennis, baseball, potato sack races, mushball, nail driving, a picnic, and card party; the night then commenced with a Labor Day Dance held on the Community House lawn. Labor Day 1936

The Waverly Community House has remained at the center of holiday celebrations for decades. As we close out the summer of 2017, the Comm is preparing for many more fun filled activities and events to finish off the year including the annual Halloween party and Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival. Stay tuned for all updates regarding these two events and many more via the Comm’s website and Facebook page. We hope all of our readers had a safe, happy Labor Day!

 

Destination Freedom Evaluation Survey

Good Afternoon All,

lakca-ug-railrodWe hope that everyone is continuing to enjoy the summer season. It is hard to believe that our Destination Freedom Interpretive Walking Tour has been operational for nearly two whole months now! As with all of our programs, the Waverly Community House will continue to develop this educational map to meet the needs of the community. In order to successfully do this, the Comm would like to kindly ask anyone who has taken the tour thus far, to participate in a very brief survey to evaluate the experience as a whole. We would love to hear any and all feedback from our community members regarding this new project. You can find a link to the survey at the bottom of this post or via our Facebook page. Maps are currently available at the Waverly Community House Monday-Friday from 9am-3pm in the Main Offices, and on Saturday from 9am-1pm in the Abington Visitor’s Center (Comm North Wing). They are also available outside those hours by appointment; reservations can be made by calling (570) 586-8191 ex. 7. Stay tuned for more updates and thank you all for participating in Destination Freedom!

Link to survey:      https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z7KLVCB

 

Summertime Celebration: The Comm Square Fair & Anniversary Gathering, 1995

“The Waverly Community House’s history since it was created, has been one of steady growth. Decades after being built, the Comm serves as a viable reminder of what one vision, and the support of several generations of enthusiastic volunteers can accomplish– proof that the sense of community of days gone by need not be lost by progress or change. (The Voice, Waverly Community House Anniversary Edition 1980)”

ParadeOn June 26th, 1995, the Waverly Community House held its 75th anniversary celebration with its opening event– the Comm Square Fair; “Celebrating 75 Years of Community History” was the theme and the affair began following a lively parade full of community members eager to show their support for the Comm. After the parade, guests were then met with the Almost Antiques Market, live music, entertainment for all ages such as: clowns, dancers, and the University of Scranton Jazz Ensemble. Many of the events were tailored exclusively for children including: a moon walk, dunk tank, obstacle course, and pony rides. Additional activities included crafts and local vendor booths. This anniversary celebration was an all day affair, beginning at noon and concluding in the evening; this event was simply one of the many ways that community members gathered in celebration of the Waverly Community House throughout its decades of operation.

Additionally, the Waverly Community House’s 75th anniversary was recognized withPlay the creation of a commemorative theatrical production entitled: “This House Builded,” a performance dedicated to sharing the history of the Comm’s origins and featured a cast of characters which included Paul Belin, Margaretta Belin, and George Lewis. The play honored the Waverly Community House’s journey throughout various decades of service and touched upon the innovative nature of all Comm programs. The show was written by Leigh Strimbeck and co-written by Elizabeth Markowitz, and premiered during the month of June 1995.

This year, the Waverly Community House will continue the late summer celebratory tradition with the Waverly  Township Community Fair. The gathering will be held this Friday, July 21st from 630-830 pm at the Waverly Community House. This year’s activities will include: a picnic dinner, bouncy house, carnival games, live music, and much more. All proceeds raised will also aid the Comm in creation of its latest community program– the Comm Children’s Interactive Center, which is currently in development and will make its debut in the near future. Stay tuned for updates in the upcoming year regarding this new venture!Community Fair 2017

As the Waverly Community House continues to thrive through another exciting, fun filled, summer season, we remain one year closer to approaching our centennial anniversary in 2019. The Comm is currently in the process of creating new programs, activities, and events dedicated to enriching the community for the next one hundred years. For now, some upcoming events to watch out for include: Cocktails for the Courts, Destination Freedom field trips, and Cars and Coffee. For more information on programs and events check our website for updates!

Underground Railroad Field Trips at the Waverly Community House

This past Friday, the Waverly Community House welcomed two groups of students from both the Newton Ransom Elementary School and South Abington Elementary School. Arriving on the Comm’s back lawn, students were eager to learn about the locations and individuals featured on the map, and their significance in our region’s local history. During the trip, the children learned about Leonard Batchelor, an abolitionist so dedicated to aiding the runaways that he hid them on his property and provided transportation to their next stops. They also heard about Dr. Andrew unnamed (1)Bedford, Rodman Sisson, Reverend Kennedy, Samuel Whaling, and John Raymond- all local residents who once lived along North Abington Road and had varying levels of involvement in the Underground Railroad Movement. Next, the classes were escorted to Carbondale Road, where they learned about the runaways and were able to view the first African Methodist Episcopal Church (currently a private residence), along with some of the homes of former slaves. Also included in the tour was information about the local churches and their contribution to the movement as well as the cemeteries where former slaves and abolitionists are buried.

Both groups of students learned valuable information and were able to learn how our local region played a pivotal role in a movement so crucial to the history of the United States. Children were also able to utilize the walking trail map in order to see the real life locations still currently standing and to visualize what transpired there in the 1800’s. The Waverly Community House will continue to develop this initiative and is currently accepting reservations for fall trips. To make a reservation, or to learn more about the map and future volunteer opportunities, please contact Gia Reviello at (570) 586-8191 ex.7, or Comm Executive Director Maria Wilson at (570) 586-8191 ex. 1.

Destination Freedom Update

UGRR

After months of development and anticipation, the Waverly Community House is pleased to announce that our Destination Freedom Walking Trail Map and accompanying companion reader has been completed. Both pieces will be making their inaugural appearance this Friday as we will be hosting two field trip groups from Newton Ransom Elementary School and South Abington Elementary School. The following week, the Comm will be having three more groups visiting from Waverly Elementary School. This is a project that the Waverly Community House will continue to develop over time as the potential and community interest remain limitless. Additional information on private and public tours will be made available in the near future after the initial walking tours.

Volunteers are welcome to participate and learn how to assist on both current and future field trips and group tours. Please contact Gia Reviello, Comm Classroom and Archive Coordinator for further details. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project on this blog and our Facebook page!

Celebrating the Season: Spring Festivities at the Waverly Community House

Every year, the Waverly Community House prepares for the springtime in various ways; after the long winter months, community members look forward to the nice weather and the Comm readily creates fresh new events to mark the occasion. Today’s blog post will take a look at some of the Waverly Community House’s past spring events. Enjoy!

The Annual March Dance: Each year, beginning in the 1920’s, the Waverly Athletic Association would sponsor the March Dance; at this event, a 50 cent ticket would admit one person for an evening of dancing, refreshments, and socializing. Young children and adults were especially encouraged to attend these dances by Community House staff because they viewed dancing as a crucial developmental sport that had the potential to improve upon “speed, agility, accuracy, lightness of foot, readiness of hand, and the ability to be quick in thought and action.” Comm employees Gertrude Coursen, Helen Fish, and Ruth Harrison often attended these events and supervised the children; this community dance was a fun event that many looked forward to all year.

Spring Fashion Shows: Another way the Community House kicked off the season was with their Annual Spring Fashion Show titled, “Silhouette of Spring.” This show was held in collaboration between the Community Club and the Globe Store and featured local women and young adults modeling warm weather fashions for the community. The first show was held in the 1940’s and the event continued into the next decade.

Spring Music Festivals: Spring music festivals at the Waverly Community House began in the 1920’s and continued through the 1950’s. Many of them were held by the Waverly School and were very well planned events consisting of refreshments, elaborate floral displays, and many musical numbers performed by various members of the school’s chorus and glee club. The Spring Music Festival took place every March and were very popular among both children and adults.

May Festival: The May Festival was held on Community House grounds and featured May Festival 1927the crowning of Waverly’s “May Queen.” This was another festive way to kick off the season with a fun event; pictured in this photograph is 1927’s May Queen Susan Wheeler.

The Waverly Community House has always held festive events to mark the changing of the seasons and spring is no exception; this year, there is a lot to look forward to such as: the Second Annual Greenhouse and Kitchen Show, the Spring Photography Show, Waverly Waddle 5k Run Walk, and many developments in the Underground Railroad Interpretive Map. Stay tuned for these exciting events; happy spring!