History of the Big Sandy Senior Center
August 3, 2022
In Spring, 1974, some friends were visiting and mentioned the Hi-Line Senior Citizens Center one of them belonged to. An interested Big sandy individual called a group to her home to discuss the possibility of organizing a similar group and a nominating committee was chosen.
On May 14, 1974, the organizational meeting was held in the Vet’s meeting room. It was a pot luck. 48 people were present. A county Commissioner explained the project was not a welfare program but centers were being set up throughout the state for Senior Citizens, age 55, and over.
Officers were elected, were to meet twice a month, was to be non-profit, the nurse would take blood pressures monthly.
The café catered some meals and we continued to have many pot lucks.
August, 1974, the county commissioners approved a 1 mill levy to help finance four Senior Citizen projects in Chouteau Co.
Needed a permanent building. One available near the end of main street. It was on the ground level. It had housed Neil McMillan’s Grocery Store, Wallace’s Saloon, The Mint, C & L Clothing Store, Campbell’s Shoe Store, Wild Bill’s Second Hand Store, (maybe more things we didn’t find out.,)
Building purchased in September 1974. Work began the following June. Several Expert Carpenters. Men and women spent thousands of hours and we had a little help from the Green Thumbers. Tore down plaster, puled nails out of boards to be recycled, was bared to the 2 X 4’s pounded nails, paneled, wired, shingled, remodeled, painted, varnished, spray-painted the cupboards, upholstered.
Money making project included raffles and the sale of plants and bazar items. Many, many cash contricutions, both large and small, items for this center, and kitchen appliances of all kinds, were received from Senior Citizens, future Senior Citizens, organizations, and individuals as far away as Kansas.
Memorial were given by many. Name of departed participating members are engraved on a memorial plaque.
We made souvenirs for the 1975 homecoming.
In June, 1975, the lot next door was offered to us for sale and was purchased in August. This building formerly housed Laundry, Pearl Mullinix & Edwards tailor shop, Vincent Lanik tailor Shop, Liquor Store, Ruth Shaver’s Coffee Shop, Lucille’s Ceramics.
November 4th, 1975, the first meeting was held in the new center with meals catered by the café. Had an improvised, temporary Kitchen. Had quarterly birthday parties. Took tours. Had Audio Clinic.
February 8, 1976 Open House with local people and visitors from other Senior Center attending.
The Bicentennial float made by the Senior Citizens in June, 1976, won a grand prize. We elected a bicentennial queen from several candidates and shoes an escort for her.
The money was available, work was continued on the building on the second lot. This included the kitchen, the rest rooms and the recreation room. This was begun in May, 1977. In 1978 , the interior of the front was finished. Rock work was done on the front by a professional stone mason. A storage shed was built in back. In 1979, the back lot was paved, allowing for addition, better parking space.
September, 1977, we started participating in the Nutrition Program.
2 cooks prepared nutritious meals twice a week.
In 1979, served an average of 60 or more
Meals on Wheels are delivered to those unable to attend.
We now celebrate birthdays the first Tues. On each month, selecting the oldest man and woman present to be crowned king and queen for the month.
A member from the local newspaper office takes their picture each time for publication in the paper.
A local business organization supplies magazines and a rack for them.
Programs: Speech students share talents, Health nurse and referral technician here monthly, Local people give talks, show slides, lead sin-a-longs. We have two exercise bikes and a pool table in the recreation room. The latest addition to our facility is an excellent speaker system.
Those who worked on the large old building for Senior Center in 1975: Lloyd Pearson, Marinus Petersen, John Siebrasse, George Johansson, Ethel Johansson, Ann Turk, Hazel Works, Leon McConkey, Clarence Allderdice, Virgil Livers, Dick Livers, Frank Drga, Jr., Margaret Petersen, Adeline Pribyl, Odin Blockhus, Myrtle Pearson, Clifford Jorenson, and Jim Pribyl Sr.
Those who worked on the second addition in1977:: Lloyd Pearson, Marinnus Petersen, John Siebrasse, Georg Johansson, Ethel Johansson, Adeline Pribyl, Elsie Pavlovick, Dick Livers, Frank O’Neill, Leon McConkey, Ann Turk, Margaret Petersen, Myrtle Pearson, Allan Pearson, and Roger, Ron, Randy and Robin Pearson.