History of the Club
Charter Members | History Timeline | Officers, Past & Present
ORIGINATED NOVEMBER 16, 1960
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
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!
MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS AND EVENTS THAT HAVE FOLLOWED OVER THE YEARS
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
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
History gathered by Leonard Heeke in 1997 from Club Minutes and memories of older members.