Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Sue Howsmon
Lincoln Community Hall 

Lincoln Village keeps Community Hall thriving


August 8, 2018

Teresa Sutton paints a cabinet during the kitchen renovation.

The Lincoln Community Hall turned 100 years old this year, and it is one of the last log public buildings of its size in Montana.

The unique octagonal structure, first dedicated in February 1918, was built by the citizens of Lincoln to provide a centralized home for the social and spiritual well-being to a remote mountain community. That vision has continued today.

The list of directors and caretakers over the years include a Who's Who of Lincoln history. They selflessly cared for the hall and/or recruited others to help provide the needed repairs as they came up. It takes a proverbial "village" to keep this "Old Lady" maintained and serviceable for all the varied events that occur within its walls.

Following in the footsteps of the Community Hall's very first group of caretakers, the current Board of Directors have been working on many improvement projects staggered over several years. The recent kitchen project began with donations received from a Lincoln Fest gathering almost four years ago and has snowballed from there.

Recent grant awards have enabled the Hall to keep its facilities updated and accommodating for 21st Century needs. Thanks to Karen Frank-Plumlee and Renee Lundberg for their grant writing skills; no small task.

Most noticeable of the recent improvements is our kitchen remodel with new flooring, custom cabinets and countertops, three-compartment sink with new plumbing and the newly painted front door mural depicting the Blackfoot River thanks to the very talented artists Annie Allen and Lisa Gibson.

Not so noticeable, but equally important, is our recent electrical upgrade. Many thanks to Ted Schoenen who improved our wiring in the kitchen, installed new switches and ground faults. He also replaced lighting with new LED fixtures. Thanks to Roger Brandenburger and Mike Nordahl of Lincoln Sewer for their plumbing assistance. Ceiling tiles in both the kitchen and snack room were replaced by Jeanette Nordahl and Ernie Lundberg. And Doug Vulcan, Kevin & Donna Forkan completed the floor's base boards to give the kitchen a finished look.

All these improvements are costly and could not have been accomplished without the support of many volunteers and partners who offered not only, monetary donations but hours of labor and experience.

Again, it's the proverbial "village" we need to recognize for what they have done to get us this far. We have received grants and donations or significant discounts from the following: the Lincoln Quilters; Treacy Foundation; NorthWestern Energy; MDU Resources Foundation; Helena Area Community Foundation; Bill and Rosemary Gallagher Foundation; John Sutton – Mountain Woodcrafts; and Finstad's Carpet and Flooring.

Lastly, our community volunteer laborers who worked on a variety of projects need to be recognized. The spring cleaning folks Bob and Karen Frank-Plumlee; Ethel Sutej; Kathy Reeve; Mike and Renee Campbell; Rick Forman and his grandson, Case; Dave Millard; and Ernie and Renee Lundberg. For snow removal, a giant thanks to Fred Rowley. Helpers on the kitchen remodel also included Kevin and Donna Forkan; Bill and Jill Frisbee; Ken Gellatley, Mike Mullens, Gary and Dawn Schwalm; and Doug Vulcan.

The snow load this winter was tremendous, as we all know. So, thanks Nyle Howsmon and Ernie Lundberg for repairing a leak over the stage and replacing damaged insulation. And thanks to Arny Brown for replacing the fence along the hall's west side with bumper logs.

We are now in Phase 5 of our kitchen project upgrades, which is to replace the old kitchen door and porch repair; to make the door energy efficient, wider and area more accommodating for hall users to transfer chairs and supplies.

We also wish to recognize and thank everyone who helped make our Centennial Celebration such a memorable event. Ginger and Steve Stocks were instrumental in much of the pre-planning; Tiana Valler who volunteered to coordinate the event and her family of helpers; American Legion Post 9; Tom Mazanec and tuba players; Glen Cronk and his family of fiddlers; Susie Murphy for coordinating Saturday night's dance with the Edge 406 Band. Carla Anderson, Melissa Gilbert and Annette Gardner with Lincoln School; Lincoln students for their video presentation of early Hall memories and student displays; Jerry Burns and Upper Blackfoot Valley Historical Society; Kathy Reeves for rallying Lincoln pie bakers; Ron Lydiard for being the greeting host, and from Ireland, Cellist Adele O'Dwyer and Steven Gores. Melissa Gilbert, Adele and Steven brought out the best from a Lincoln student choir group.

Completed renovations of the Community Hall kitchen.

And we can't forget our Community Players, a beloved, vital component of Lincoln entertainment for more than 40 years.

Additional thanks to Lehrkinds Beverage, Valler Coffee Company, D&D Foodtown, Meadow Gold Dairy, The Pit Stop, Lincoln Telephone, Citizen's Alliance Bank, and Lincoln Art Council. And to those that coordinated activities throughout the town: Blackfoot Valley Dispatch, Guy Burgess, Karen Frank-Plumlee, and Sculpture in the Wild and UBV Historic Society for tours.

Of course, tallying a list of volunteers and helpers is always risky that someone may be left out and offended. That is certainly not our intent. So many "Villagers" helped in one way or another. Please know that all assistance to the hall is appreciated and essential to each step along the way.


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