Loyal Heights Community Club fetes 75 years

ARLINGTON — How much history does the Loyal Heights Community Club have?

Julia Lien celebrated her 100th birthday on March 11 of this year, and even she doesn’t have the most seniority within the group’s membership.

“I joined in 1949,” said Lien of the sewing club, which was started in 1936. “It was just a friendly group of people to sit with once in a while.”

During her time with the club, Lien estimated that she’s sewn thousands of quilts, as well as assorted pillowcases, but on the club’s 75th anniversary celebration, what she remembered most was the friends she’d made and the lunches they’d shared.

The Loyal Heights Community Club’s 75th anniversary on Oct. 15 coincided with its fundraising bazaar for this year, during which the works of Lien and other sewers were sold to help  keep the 106-year-old Loyal Heights Hall in a state of decent repair. The club originally met in individual members’ homes until 1939, after they’d purchased the building from what was the Arlington School District at the time. Sharon Krogen explained that the hall has already received monies from the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, which they used to renovate the roof and expand the bathroom to make it wheelchair-accessible. Male associates of the club’s members have also built a wheelchair ramp for its entrance.

“The school closed down in 1924, and it reverted back to a community hall,” Krogen said. “Our Sons of Norway Lodge met there for many years until it disbanded. Since then, it’s been used for funeral luncheons, weddings, anniversaries, family parties and community meetings. It’s so lovely that people are amazed at how nice it looks inside.”

While Krogen recalls her husband’s family holding a family reunion of 350 in the hall in 1972, Betty Espe Williams’ memories and family ties to the hall and club run even deeper. Betty’s mother-in-law, Edith Williams, was president of the sewing club for many years, while Betty’s mother, Sylvia Espe, has become its sole surviving charter member. Sylvia was unable to attend the anniversary celebration.

“The meetings didn’t always go smoothly, but somehow, when the day was over, everyone went home satisfied with the results,” Betty Espe Williams said. “Edith lived until the age of 103. She was a wonderful cake decorator and crocheted hundreds of baby clothes.”

While the club’s 19 members take pride in their sense of community and preservation of local history, they wouldn’t mind some young new members. At the age of 68, Patti Wright is one of the club’s younger members, which is why she’s taken it upon herself to help spruce the place up. The hall could still use funds and volunteers to replace its heating system, which currently runs on stove oil, which Club Treasurer Barbara Wood described as “a very costly item for our annual budget.”

To rent the hall or for more information, call Wood at 360-435-2998 or Wright at 360-435-8791. The Loyal Heights Community Club is located at 4406 269th Pl. NE in Arlington. The rental fees are a $150 daily rental rate and a refundable damage deposit rate of $100 per event, which is refundable upon cleaning up the hall up after your event.


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