Aug 22, 2019
by Lyndi Brown
By: Jack Withington
If buildings could talk, Penngrove’s Community Clubhouse could spin a story that includes Penngrove’s rich and interesting history. Originally built as the Penngrove Social Welfare Club and completed in 1922, the name changed over the years; it later became the Penngrove Women’s Club and now it is the Penngrove Community Clubhouse, maintained by Penngrove Social Firemen.
Mrs. Tillie Hermann was the Women’s Club’s first president. Tillie was the wife of local builder Al Hermann, the contactor responsible for the construction of the six room Eagle Elementary School (later the name was changed to Penngrove Grammar School), and many other projects in southern Sonoma County.
In 1930, the basement of the clubhouse served as the home of Penngrove’s Fire Department until 1938, when a new two-story firehouse was built next door utilizing lumber from the razed old Eagle School building. The little metal building on display at the Penngrove Park was formerly located in front of this fire house.
The clubhouse has served the community for nearly 100 years. There is a good chance you have fond memories of it, at the corner of Woodward and Oak Streets in Penngrove.
Many Penngrove Elementary School graduations and Christmas pageants were held in the building. The Old Adobe or other 4-H clubs and Petaluma Grange met there. Finnish and other ethnic groups met there, as did folk and square dance groups. Your polling place was at the Women’s Clubhouse. If your group was raising funds, you held bazaars, card parties, or carnivals there. The Penngrove Grange, for many years, met there.
Dances were a popular use of the clubhouse. Local groups like the Korn Vendors Orchestra led by Penngrove poultry farmer, Larry Sani, played to crowds there in the 1950s. You could also dance to and enjoy the music of Ralph Rawson and his band. The country group Black Jack Wayne with Cal and Rose Maddox were a regular feature in Penngrove.
When the hall underwent stressful times, the Penngrove Social Firemen stepped in and brought financial stability to this iconic clubhouse. Members of the non-profit can rent the facility for their parties and celebrations. It is used each month for the membership dinner.
Jack Withington lived in and around Penngrove in the 50s. But nothing lasts forever. Empty chicken houses, old unused milk houses tell the story of Penngrove. His years spent on a poultry ranch meant hard work alternating with the best that life had to offer. He saw the Penngrove Park go from a farmers field to a local showcase.
Hawaiian Luau, Penngrove Style – Sept. 7 - I love this mellow Luau in Penngrove Park. The food is great — kalua pork, yams, Hawaiian Rice, Asian salad, Hawaiian chicken, and dessert. The exceptional performance by Taimalietane Islands Of Polynesia dance troupe. Funds go to the upkeep of the lovely Penngrove Park, owned by Penngrove Social Firemen. Mai Tai hour starts at 1:00 pm, with dinner at 3:00 pm. And someone’s got to win the raffle of a five-night trip to Maui with condo, air & car. If you haven’t pre-purchased tickets, you can still charge by phone by calling organizer Kim Hanson at JavAmore Café, 794-1516. Limited tickets at the door. $25 adults; $10 children ages 6 -12, and under age 5 are free. Also at https://penngroveluau.brownpapertickets.com
Burning Ham – Sept. 21 - Burning Ham is a celebration of bacon, beer and bands. Lagunitas Beer. There will be whole pigs being roasted in 4 categories: baby back ribs, creative bacon dish, bacon dessert and pulled pork. Bring out the whole family, as there will be a kids area and an adult area filled with fun games and live music. Sponsored by Active 20-30 in Penngrove Park, at 11800 Main St. $30 pre-sale, $35 at the door, and a $75 VIP option. Tickets available at Brown Paper Tickets.
Celebrate Harvest Moon – Sept. 22 - Artful Arrangements invites you to welcome autumn with a Fall Table centerpiece workshop. 10am – Noon at the ranch 205 Orchard Lane, Penngrove. $10 or $15 for two. Call Diane to register, 664-8656. Refreshments and materials included.www.Artfularrangements.org
Sitting Room - Sara Valerio and Nicki Orser will hold one of their “Moving Words” workshops, with body and mind connections, on Saturday, Sept. 14, 1:00 PM. RSVP to Sara at email@example.com. A Tribute to Tony Morrison is on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2 :00 pm. All welcome, no RSVP needed. For more events, see www.SittingRoom.org
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