By: Winnie Smith


When I day dream about the "Good Ole Days" at Bates, I immediately think of the Community Hall and how everyone in the community used it for some interest that they had.


I moved to Bates in 1951 and Nan Kranenburg was cleaning and keeping the schedule for all the activities.  The money for the maintenance was strictly a volunteer program.  Anyone that worked for the Company could have $1.00 a month withheld from their check that was donated to the hall committee for expenses.  Different organizations worked very hard to raise money for new equipment to make the hall more enjoyable. 


In the early fifties Nan left and I started cleaning the hall and keeping the schedule, which I did for several years.  One of the people that did so much for the kids and hall was an old gentleman by the name of Henry Rockenbrandt.  He bought a juke box and spent many hours supervising the kids at the hall so they could dance and have entertainment.  Several of his ancestors are still living in Grant County.  He was dearly loved by all the Bates kids. 


The hall was used by the school for P.E. and recesses when the weather was bad, Union meetings, Auxiliary, Ladies Club, Scouts, church, movies, basketball, volley ball, parties, and after a long winter layoff we always had several baby showers in the summer. 


I tried to write everything on the calendar so I would know if thehall was available but sometimes I overlapped events but we had a kitchen, dining room, and stage at the end of he gymnasium so there might be several meetings going on at the same time. 


One social event that probably brings back lots of memories to a lot of people would be the New Years Eve Party.  Pearl and Chuck Roberts and I had been playing music at Cody and Marnie McConnell's and when Pearl and Chuck got married they decided to have a dance for the whole community and we played the music.  Everyone had such a great time so the Union Auxiliary decided to sponsor a New Years Eve dance.  We had some fund raising projects and got enough money to buy los of crepe paper and decorations for the hall.  We had a private party and everyone brought their card tables, ice, drinks and refreshments, and we played music and everyone danced in the New Year.  It became a tradition to have the party.  Although there was always some big heads the next day, everyone was very good about helping with the clean up and after a few pots of coffee and maybe a little hair off the dog, the paper was re-rolled and everything put away and we started looking forward to the next New Years Eve.


I kept the hall keys on a nail by the door and anyone that used the hall just reached in and got the keys and hung them back after they used them.  Of course, none of us ever thought of locking our doors in the "Good Ole Days."