How often, when we pass the fine municipal building in Aberdeen, do we think of what once stood there? If we can remember before 2000, there was a structure that held so much history within its walls.
It was at the turn of the century that the City of Aberdeen removed the wooden structure that was constructed for the use of the USO, by the Federal Government, in 1942. After World War II, the Town of Aberdeen purchased the building for a community center.
This center was named the Aberdeen Recreation Center, the "ARC." In the 1950s, it was a widely used meeting center for everyone. Can we remember how that came to be, and who was involved in its function?
We haven't thought about those years for a long time. Many citizens today weren't here to remember. In among the items from the Mitchell Estate, brought in by Wiley Mitchell, is a program from October 1952. Contained is a brief history of the building on North Parke Street, it's purpose after the United Service Organization was no longer in great need in Aberdeen, and the people who made it function for the community.
On the cover of the "Program of the Aberdeen Community Mart and Hobby Show" it tells that the event was for the benefit of the Aberdeen Recreation Center at the ARC Building on Oct. 24 and 25, 1952.
On the introduction page, titled "Your ARC," it states: "A large group of people of this community are sponsoring the operation of this building, by contributing their time and money. Purchased by the Town of Aberdeen for a community center, it operation and maintenance must depend on civic-minded men and women. If you would volunteer your services, or care to join the sponsoring club, please talk to Mrs. Georgia Wagner, our efficient Director, or any member of the Council. It is a project large enough for the activities of everyone in the community.
The names of the current Council, elected by the Sponsors Club, appeared below.
J. Wilmer Cronin, Chairman; Clark Connellee, Tevis Greenland, Mrs. Samuel Jones, Dundas Leavitt, Kenneth Livezey, Samuel Lytle, Mr. Raymond Mitchell, Mrs. R. Lee Mitchell, William McDowel, Charles Osteen, Mrs. Frank Wight, and Mrs. Georgia Wagner, Director.
Who are the sponsors? Another page was devoted to the advertisement of the ARC: "Join The ARC Sponsors Group. $25.00 A Year Family Membership. The proceeds from the Community Mart and Hobby Show will be used for the benefit of the ARC Building, Aberdeen's widely used meeting place. Many thanks are extended by Mrs. Raymond Mitchell, Hobby Show Committee Chairman, and her various committees to all those who participated and worked for the success of this affair."
And what an affair it was. There were creative hobbies, including model railroads, afghans, weavings, sol paintings, quilts, textile paintings, handmade miniature furniture, wax figures, model cars, hand painted china knitting, handmade dolls, shell craft, color crayon sketches, ceramics and pastels photography decoys and handmade furniture.
There were collective hobbies including dolls, salts and peppers, antique wagons, stamps, trading cards, glassware, fire arms, match covers, perfume bottles, dogs, herbs, post cards, antiques, antique silver and coins.
There were unusual or rare articles, including an antique doll bed, antique fans, letters from famous people, music book, milk glass, antique buttons, pictures, samplers, miniature Fisher Body automobiles, Japanese needlepoint, antique hovel, wash stand, child's tea set, pitchers and silver punch ladle. Of course, stamps and hand painted glass.
The very successful affair also had many advertisers. New Ideal Diner, Harford Democrat-Enterprise, Famous and Spang, C.C. Cronin, Viele& Co., Kummel Service Co., Harford Co. Realty, Cook's Food Market, Dixon & Rickey, Aberdeen Department Store, New Theater, City Cleaners, Deane's Apparel, Joseph Wagman, Bell's Store, D. Walter Rowe, City Cleaners, and First National Bank of Aberdeen.
Patrons included Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Cruit, Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Horky, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hawtin, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Tarring, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rowe, Mr. and Mrs. William Lindenstruth, Eddie Green, Mr. and Mrs. L.N. Volkard, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Stark, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hill, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Mitchell, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Palewick.