A few miles outside the City of Springville sits a four-way stop in the unincorporated community of Whittier. Next to the intersection stands the Whittier Community Building with the year 1919 painted on it.
Oct. 13, residents of the small community came together to celebrate the milestone and reminisce on the past during the centennial celebration.
In addition to cake and other refreshments, attendees took time to check out a table decked out with albums featuring news from days gone by from the small community and recalling the history of the community, including everything from looking at old photos to sharing memories of the old Whittier Worms little league team.
David Lam, now of Springville, had copies from his families recording of a historical production of the community’s history from 1958. He doesn’t remember much about the night, except that his little brother and sister were a part of one of the skits, though he can’t remember if he performed or not.
One of the stories that the skits told was the story of his great-grandparents, who lived in Viola, and were trapped in a blizzard as they were leaving Springville.
Craig Ellyson, a Whittier resident from 1955 through 1977, was reminded about being in attendance 50 years ago for the 50th anniversary of the building, a fact he hadn’t recalled until he’d seen the photographic evidence a few days previously. As far as memories go, Ellyson remembered the club hosting things from wedding receptions, to Halloween parties, providing a place for a community meal after the Fourth of July parade and even a farmer’s institute.
“(It) was kind of like a 4-H, state fair atmosphere where farmers would bring in ears of corn or things that they’ve made…would get brought in,” he said.
Ellyson also recalled coming to the center to play basketball on Saturday nights. Those youth activities are what the building was initially built for, Whittier Council President Arlene Burns said, though youth have decreased over the years.
Though its function has shifted over the years, fundraisers, like the soup supper, which begins Oct. 17 at 5 p.m., and rummage sales, help cover the operating expenses for the building. The building is still hosting things like the Christmas party, which are just for the community to enjoy, and is available to rent.
“We just try to keep it available and in good shape,” Burns said.
Burns was surprised at the amount of people that showed up for the celebration and was happy to see the amount of people that returned to celebrate the old building.