BY KATIE WOODZICK
Whidbey Life Magazine contributor
August 18, 2014
Freeland Hall is filled with thousands of memories.
Middle school Valentine’s Day dances with dreamy crushes, live punk shows, the Black Cat Ball, Inauguration Ball and Harvest Moon Ball. The list is endless.
Jenica Cerda remembers listening to her father’s band play at the hall as a young girl:
“That place is magical…dancing out on the open floor, which felt HUGE at the time.
“I remember running around outside with other kids who had gotten bored with whatever was happening inside. We would play tag and hide-and-seek in the dark all around the building. I remember falling asleep in the back of the hall, despite the loud music, on a bed of blankets that my mom had made. Then I woke up in my own bed.”
The First Thursday Club, founded in 1902 by Mrs. Alma Gearhart, consisted of eight other women in the community. The club discussed topics of interest such as “the harm of wearing long skirts, how to manage a husband, medicine and the art of healing, noted women of the world, what should be the attitude of earnest women toward their fallen sisters and property rights of women in the state of Washington.”
The Freeland Improvement Club came up with the idea for Freeland Hall in 1914 and approached the First Thursday Club, whose members donated $25 “with the stipulation that a separate room be provided in the hall for their use.” Volunteers started to build the hall in 1915.
In 2004, the hall was chosen as a local historic site. Located on the corner of East Shoreview Avenue and South Freeland Drive, the wood building—dappled with bright red doors and window frames—overlooks the water.
Whidbey Island is a popular destination wedding location that brings several nuptials a year to Freeland Hall. The hall is booked solid for weddings from May through September; the rest of the year weddings happen once or twice a month, on average.
The Whidbey community is invited to celebrate the hall’s 100th birthday. The celebration will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23. Everyone is invited to atend and enjoy food, music, a beer and wine garden, a raffle, bingo and games with prizes.
“The celebration is to honor the history of the hall, and the community,” said Keasha Jennings, co-operator of the hall. “It is the goal of the Freeland Hall to raise funds to use for community events to help meld the members of our community together.”
“We are a small community,” she continued, “and we rely a lot on our local businesses and community members for growth and success. We want to say thanks and give honor to the members of our community, from business owners, workers, families and children for all the support the hall has received over the past 100 years, and to give cheers to another 100 years!”
Image at top: Freeland Hall exterior signs (photo by David Welton)
Katie Woodzick works at Hedgebrook as an External Relations Manager. She is also an actor and director who can be seen on local stages. She is excited to play Little Red Riding Hood in “Into the Woods,” opening October 10 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.
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