Celestine Community Club
Community Club Building




History of the Club

Charter MembersHistory TimelineOfficers, Past & Present

     This is an effort to record a little history of the start of the Celestine Community Club.  Most of the information was obtained from the original minutes of the meetings and some was from memories of some
of the older members.  We hope that by condensing this information and presenting them in this manner it will be interesting to all.  The first year or so the members were composed a group of men and women who had only one thing in mind and that was to start a Community Club and build a building to allow it to be a benefit to the people of Celestine area.  The original members were composed of those who were unafraid to devote their talents and time to accomplishing that goal.  Because of a shortage of money hiring outside help was kept to a minimum and there were many evening and Saturday work sessions until the building was finally finished and ready for use.  There just can't be enough said for those early members who had the foresight and dedication to establish this Club. That same dedication is still being seen today.  Over the years we have seen many improvements to the Club which have been the results of good Officers and a core of active members.  This core of active members has always been the backbone of the Club and they were even more so in those first years. Although the minutes have names of Officers elected each year they do not contain a complete listing of all of those that served on committees, cooked, or volunteered to take care of other projects that came up.  To avoid missing someone no attempt will be made to try and identify all the "workers" who were actually more important than any of Officers or Committee members who are mentioned.
     On with the History:
Four general discussion meetings were held on the organization of a club.  These were held in 1960.
At the first meeting an Organization Committee was voted on.  Selected
were Roman Brosmer, Eugene Knies, Jim Stemle, Linus Humbert, and Leonard Heeke.  Discussion was held on whether to have a Conservation Club or a Community Club.
At the second meeting a representative from the Conservation Department
discussed the benefits of a Conservation Club.
At the third meeting two representatives from the Dubois Community Club
discussed the benefits a Community Club.

The fourth general meeting was held on November 16, 1960 with 29 men
present.  It was decided that a Community Club would be established.
It was also decided that those present were to be considered members and
legally entitled to vote.   
Thus, this was the actual start and first meeting of the Celestine
Community Club.  Nomination of Officers was made and voted on.  Selected 
were Charles Schnell, President; Jim Stemle, Vice-President; Leonard Heeke, Secretary; and Eugene Knies, Treasurer.  The $5.00 membership fee was established at this meeting.  The Club was on it's way!

The second meeting was held in the school basement on December 14, 1960.
At this meeting the Constitution and By-Laws were adopted, a decision
was made that anyone who signed up by January 1, 1961 would be a Charter
Member, and the purchase of the Felix Schnell property was discussed.
Along with the Schnell property two other locations had been viewed prior to the meeting by the Officers and others.  28 of the 33 members present voted in favor of purchasing the Schnell property. 

At the third meeting on January 12, 1961 financing was the big issue, plus whether we would 
buy all or part of the property, and the fact that we had no money to buy anything.  David Stemle made an offer to buy any part up to ten acres if the membership decided it couldn't afford to buy the entire parcel.  It was decided to purchase the entire parcel of 40 acres. Asking price for the forty acres was $3,000.00 and that was a goal set to try and borrow from individual members.  At this meeting $950.00 dollars was offered to be loaned by 11 members.  At least a start!  Also, it was decided to extend the Charter Membership to anyone who signed up and paid their dues at this meeting.

Following is a list of those Charter Members:                    ...back

    Anthony Beckman, Jr.    John Humbert      Edwin Schnell
    Roman Brosmer      Arthur Kempf      Kenneth Schnell
    Clarence Buechler    Frank Kluesner      Frank Schepers
    Harold Buechler    Elmer Knies          Kenneth Schepers   
    Robert Buechler    Eugene Knies      Victor Schepers
    Tony Buechler    Dallas Knies      Edward Schroeder
      Hugo Englert    Leo Knies            Robert Schroeder
      Roman Gadlage    Oscar Knies           Gilbert Schroering
    Bernard Gehlhausen    Roman Knies           Herbert Schroering
    Neal Gehlhausen    Tony Knies, Sr.      Othmar Schulz
    Gene Goodman    Jacob Merkel      Ronald Schulz
    Jack Goodman            Sylverter Merter      David Stemle
    Alois Haase    Herman Metz          Otto Stemle
    Gerald Hasenour    Lawrence Metz      Paul Striegel
    Hilbert Hasenour    Elmer Meyer           Alois Thewes
    Martin Hasenour    Lawrence Sander      John Thewes
    Leonard Heeke    Victor Sander      Linus Vollmer
    Barnabus Heldman    Ray Schnaus
    Alfred Hoffman    Charles Schnell

The fourth meeting on February 14, 1961 found financing arranged. 
$400.00 of the total down payment of $1,000.00 had been made.  The deed
for the property would be turned over after the balance of the down
payment had been made and Mr. & Mrs. George Schnell accepted a note
in the amount of $2,000.00 at 4% interest and due in two years. 
Our first fund raiser dance was held on April 8, l961 at the Brown Derby in Schnellville.  This was worked up by a Program Committee consisting of Mr. & Mrs. Hilbert Hasenour, Mr. & Mrs. Vic Sander, and Mr. & Mrs.
Sylvester Merter.  (Subsequent dances were held on May 29, 1961 at the Brown Derby, June 24, 1961 at the Brown Derby, July 29, 1961 at the Wagon Wheel in Schnellville, and a fifth dance on August 19, 1961 at the
Wagon Wheel.)

At the fifth meeting on March 15, 1961 discussions on the progress of cleaning up of the grounds and on plans for building a club house. 

At the sixth meeting on April 19, l961 discussion was held on having shooting matches to help bring in money. (Money was an everlasting problem and it was almost a routine matter for these committee members to take money our of their pockets to finance the activity until they could be reimbursed.)  Also at this meeting a Building Committee was
appointed. On that Committee was Edwin A. Schnell, Elmer Knies, Othmar Schulz, Gilbert Schroering, and Sylvester Merter.

At the seventh meeting on May 17, 1961 the Building Committee advised they felt a 40' x 96' building would suit our needs.  (A lot of discussion was held on making it 50' wide but again money turned out to be the deciding factor.)  Estimated cost of the building was $7,000.00.  Also at this meeting it was decided a Life Membership would be offered to obtain some needed cash.  Cost was set at $50.00 with the closing of the offer to be December 31, 1961.

(Building construction was started after this meeting.    Almost every one knows that the original building was what is now the big part of the hall.  It was a rectangular 40' x 96' building.  The present west entrance way and the addition to the east were not a part of this first construction.  There were windows between each pilaster and after the building was finished advertising signs were sold for $35.00 and put up over each window.  The inside walls were painted. The  building was heated by two gas heaters hung in the trusses.  There were outdoor toilets.  The kitchen was in the southwest corner of the building where the present electrical/broom closet is.  The 
original Schnell farm buildings were in the area of the upper shelter house and horseshoe pits.  With the exception of one shed, they were tore down prior to the construction of the new building.  This shed was used for many years as
a storage shed.)

The ninth meeting on July 19, 1961 was the first meeting held in the new
building.  59 members were present.  Money was the big topic as there were some outstanding bills which needed to be paid. 

The tenth meeting on August 16, 1961 brought problems with financing.
A loan of $9,000.00 had been sought from the German American Bank but the appraisers did not appraise the property high enough to obtain that much.  The land was appraised for $1,500 and the building for $8,000.00
which only allowed us to get a loan of $6,300.00.  This instituted
another fund raiser - shooting matches.  A Shooting Match Committee
composed of Hugo Englert, Jerome Schlachter, John Humbert, Martin Hasenour, Kenneth Schnell, and Barny Heldman was appointed.  Also the
Life Membership was opened up again solely to receive some needed cash.

The minutes don't give the date for the first shooting match but it was held prior to the September 22, 1961 meeting.  The Grand Opening Dance
of the new Club House was held on November 11, 1961, the first annual
Sunday shoot was held in November 1961, and the first Membership Supper was held on December 17, 1961.  (At one period in time dances were being
held every other week.)

At the fourteen meeting on December 17, 1961 new officers for the year 1962 were voted upon.  Selected were Elmer Meyer, President; Ted Knies, Vice President; Clarence Buechler, Secretary; Louis Kuczyski; Treasurer; and Hilbert Hasenour, Director-At-Large.  These Officers were instrumental in starting the first social activities of the Club.  This second year saw the first Dine and Dance, the first Easter Egg Hunt for the kids, the start of the weekly Shooting Matches, the first Halloween Party and Christmas Party for the kids.  As a result of their leader-
ship, the hard work of the various committee members, and that active core of members behind them a Mortgage Burning Ceremony was held on August 15, 1962!


1963   Added the kitchen, rest rooms, and storage area to the east side
         of the building.
1965   A pickup was raffled off.
       The lake was built.
1967   Added the 40' x 60' shelter house to the south end of the
         building. (Now called the back part of the hall.)
1968   Made doors to close off the west side of the shelterhouse.
         (These doors were hinged from the top which allowed them to
         pulled up when the weather permitted.)
1969   The first ceiling was installed in the clubhouse.
1970   Sidewalks were put in on the front side of the building.
1971   The beach was added to the lake.
       Approximately 10' was graded off the driveway coming into the
         Club.  (This was in the area of the upper drive going to
       Purchased the first walk-in cooler.
1972   Installed the first walk-in cooler.  (This was in the a concrete
         block room added in the northeast corner of the shelter house.)
       Added a 16' flat roof on the east side of the building from the                                           
         kitchen/bathroom/storage addition the south end of the shelter-                    
       Built the  shelterhouse at the lake.
       Purchased the first floor scrubber.
1974   Concreted the driveway into the Club.
       First dock was put in the swimming area.
1975   Installed a ceiling in the shelterhouse.
       Graded for campsites and graded a road from the lower shelter-
         house around the north side of the lake.
1976   Closed in the shelterhouse and with the installation of the big
         roll-up door enabled that new enclosed area to be used in               
conjunction with the original hall.
         Installed the first brick bar. 
1977   Installed ceiling tile and insulation in new "back room" of the
1978   Built restrooms at the lake.
1979   Upper shelterhouse was constructed.  (It had pit toilets in the
         southeast corner of the building.)
1980   Concreted driveway into clubhouse.
1981   A new roof was added from the original gable to the outside of
         the the two additions to the clubhouse on the east side.  (This 
         eliminated the flat roof originally put on these additions.)       
       Pit toilets were removed from the upper shelterhouse.
       Put siding and installed an overhead door on the old "Schnell"
1982   Remodeled front entrance into main hall.
       Purchased new floor scrubber.
       Installed new fire/security system.
1983   Purchased the first tractor and brush hog.
       Ran water and electric lines to campground area.
       Added on a new addition from the original kitchen/bathroom/stor-
         age addition to the north end of the building.  (This project     
         included a new storage area for the kitchen, complete renova-                     
         tion of the bathrooms for the main hall, and a large much
         needed storage room.)
1984   Poured slab of concrete on southeast side of building.
1985   Added playground and landscaping.
       Tore out old cooler room and made new walk-in cooler.
       Tore out old bar and made new ones - one for front hall and
         and one for back hall.  (This included a roll up door in be-
         tween in order to be able to isolate the front and back hall.)
1986   Bricked the front and north end of the clubhouse.
1987   Concreted half of the front parking lot.
1989   Installed new paneling and ceiling in both the front and back
1990   Concreted the remaining half of the front parking lot.
1991   Remodeled the bathrooms in the back hall.
       Installed an overhang at the south end of the building for the
         shooting matches.
1992   Purchased a new John Deere front mount mower.
1993   Tore down old "Schnell" shed and built a new garage/storage    
1994   Remodeled kitchen.
1995   Built a new entrance sign at the Ellsworth Road.
       Purchased a second John Deere front mount mower.
1997   Purchased concrete guards for tractor pull.       
       Fire Department paid for and built shelter house for tractor
       pull area.

History gathered  by Leonard Heeke in 1997 from Club Minutes and memories of older members.