Friday, January 6, 2012

Woodmen Hall

Photo of the Somers Greys Baseball team in front of the Somers Woodmen Hall
The Photo was taken in 1910.  Newspaper reports noted below are evidence the Hall was built in 1904.
(Source:  Original photograph courtesy of Jim and Sharon Bose Smith.  2012 Copyright.  All Rights Reserved.)

Map of the "village" of Somers
See Somers Woodmen Hall, Camp No. 828,  located west of the rail road tracks, north side of Highway E (Somers Road).

News article about Somers Modern Woodmen Hall
Kenosha News March 7, 1944
Original clipping courtesy of Ernest "Bunkie" Tabbert

About the Modern Woodmen of America
The Modern Woodmen of America was founded in 1883.  It was a national fraternal benefit society that protected families from financial disasters following the death of the breadwinner by offering life insurance through social, charitable and volunteer activities.  By 1901 Woodmen life insurance in force exceeded $1 billion.  As a fraternal organization the Woodmen Society was organized around a lodge system call "camps".  Somers was "Camp No. 828".  The "camps" were organized in communities offering fellowship and community service opportunities.

During the deadly tuberculosis epidemic of the early 1900's, the Modern Woodmen opened a Sanatorium near Colorado Springs, Colorado to provide aid to members stricken with the disease.  Costing $1.5 million to create, this Sanatorium was considered the best of its kind anywhere.  It employed 155 employees and had the capacity for 245 patients.  From 1909 to 1947 the Sanatorium provided free treatment to more than 12,000 Woodmen members.  The Sanatorium offered board, lodging, treatment, medicine, dental work and laundering, all at no expense to the patient.  The only required expense was transportation to the Sanatorium and most local camps paid for that.  The Sanatorium achieved a remarkable 70% recovery rate.  The Sanatorium is considered to be one of the Modern Woodmen's greatest achievements.
As you will see below, Somers participated in the fund raising and support of the Sanatorium.  Below is a sample showing the Somers "camp" was very active as early as the late 1800's.

More About Woodmen Hall in Somers
"Saturday, June 12, 1899 a concert will be given at the Presbyterian Church under the auspices of the Modern Woodman Camp, No. 828.  Twenty-four pieces of the Jacoby Military Bank of Kenosha will be present and assist in the program.  Also Mrs. L. L. Owen, Miss Rhodes, Professors Mitchell and Toase, and others will take part.  This entertainment promises to be the musical event of the season.  Ice cream will be served on the lawn after the concert."
(Source:  Racine Weekly Journal June 15, 1899)

"Now that Main Street has been graveled, our village mayor has expressed his opinion to the effect that the little burg of Somers is on the verge of a great boom.  he suggested that the people fall in line and put up a hall large enough to accommodate the public when a concert or lecture is to be given.  The gentleman has voice the sentiment of a great many people in the community who witnessed the turning away of nearly 100 persons on Saturday evening for the reason that the church was packed to the doors, the occasion being the grand concert given by the Modern Woodmen.
A few weeks ago when Mr. F.G. Mitchell made a proposition to the Modern Woodmen to join hands with him in giving a concert for the benefit of the Order, it met with such favor that every one went to work with a will and no pains were spared to make it the great event of the season.,  Mr. Mitchell fulfilled his contract by preparing a program that was a treat to over 200 persons on Saturday evening while the Woodmen took charge of the refreshments.  This was the largest crowd that has ever assembled in our town and although everything was done to seat all who attended it was an impossibility and many late comers were disappointed in not gaining admission."
(Source:  Racine Daily Journal, June 28, 1899)

"Everyone will be pleased to learn that an effort is being made at present to raise money sufficient to build a hall in our village.  For years and years the need of such a building has been apparent to all.  The camp of Modern Woodmen, consisting of nearly one hundred members, has felt the need of a "home" which they could call their own and in view of this a committee has been circulating subscription papers and are meeting with good success.  Subscriptions, however, are not limited to Woodmen only, but those who desire to take stock in the building are permitted to do so.  Water works and electric lights may come some day, but let the hall come now for this is a necessity as all will admit.  We hope every Woodman will fall in line and call on the committee at their earliest convenience."
(Source:  Racine Journal, March 8, 1900)

"A meeting of the Modern Woodmen will be held of Saturday evening of this week.  It is very essential that all members be present as further arrangements for the new Woodmen Hall will be made."
(Source:  Racine Daily Journal, June 6, 1900)

"W. E. Bain, one of our leading merchants and who has conducted a store in the village for a great many years, will close out his stock as soon as possible, having sold his tore and other surrounding buildings, including the one-half acre of land to members of the Somers Camp of Modern Woodmen."
(Source:  January 17, 1902)

"A meeting of the stockholders of the Woodmen Hall Association held Saturday night, Henry Lytle, W.J. Rhodes, and N.E. Thoompson, were elected as a Board of Directors to manage the business. At the directors' meeting, Henry Lytle was elected president, W.J. Rhodes vice president and N.E. Thompson secretary and treasurer. The officials request all who have not paid for the stock subscribed to do so at once."
(Source: February 21, 1902)

"The following officers were elected for a one year term at the meeting of the Modern Woodmen Camp No 828, Somers, Saturday evening.
V.C. - Frank DeLine
W.A. - L. E. Ozanne
Ex. B. - E. Gardinier
Clerk - N.E. Thompson
Escort - M.A. Gould
Watchman - Wm. McFarland
Sentry - W.H. King
Manager - Wm. Lauer
Physician - Dr. Ripley
(Source:  Racine Daily Journal, December 5, 1903)

"B.F. Yule has been awarded the contract to build the new Woodmen Hall, the dimensions of which will be 30 x 70 feet and two stories high."
(Source:  Racine Journal, March 4, 1904)

"The Modern Woodmen of Somers will hold their annual "oyster supper" at their new Hall Tuesday evening, January 17.  Everybody is cordially invited to attend, and thus show their appreciation of the work the Modern Woodmen Society is doing in this place."
(Source: Racine Journal January 13, 1905)

"The Modern Woodmen Hall is much improved in appearance by a coat of paint.  Mt. Tabbert did the work."
(Source:  Racine Daily Journal August 13, 1907)

"Somers Athletic Club will give a mask ball at Woodmen Hall on Friday evening this week, January 17.  The Murray Orchestra will furnish the music.  Everybody is invited."
(Source:  January 14, 1908)

"The United Produce Growers and Shippers of Southern Wisconsin held a meeting at Woodmen Hall, Saturday March 14.  Although there was not a very large attendance everybody took great interest in the Association and nearly everyone present became a member and a great many more here have promised to join."
(Source: Racine Journal March 17, 1908)

"Somers Camp of the Modern Woodmen Association, No. 828, will give a dance at Woodmen Hall on New Year's Eve."
(Source:  Racine Daily Journal December 29, 1908)

"Arrangements are completed for the big county Woodmen picnic to be held at Leet's Petrifying Springs on Labor Day, Sept 6.  The famous Italian Bank of twenty-five pieces of Kenosha will be on the grounds at 10 o'clock a.m. to entertain all day.  Baseball at 11 o'clock between Herzog Corners and Corliss teams of Corliss.  During the afternoon, Woodmen of note will be on the platform and deliver interesting addresses.  Baseball, Racine vs. Somers; foot racing, fat man's race, girls' races, potato, egg and apple races will make up the sports.  Buses will meet both electric line trains all day.  The Chicago, Milwaukee Electric at the Birch Road and the Milwaukee Racine Kenosha Line at Pike River crossing, so people from Racine and Kenosha can get to and from the grounds conveniently.  Dinner will be served at noon.  A Grand Ball will begin at the Woodmen Hall in the evening."
(Source:  Racine Daily Journal August 31, 1909)

"On Friday evening of this week, February 18, Somers Camp Royal Neighbors of America No 4052 will give a basket social at Woodmen Hall.  The ladies will furnish baskets containing lunch for two and coffee will be served free.  The proceeds will be donated to the Modern Woodmen Sanitarium Fund.  Everybody is cordially invited and a social good time is promised all who attend.  it is to be hoped that Somers Camp Modern Woodmen of American No 828 will attend with their ladies and assist in aiding a most worthy cause.

"The Farmers' Institute will be held at Woodmen Hall on March 8 and 9.  A good program will be given each day.  Many subjects of interest and also instructive to the farmer will be treated.  A home talent program assisted by some able speaker is being arranged for the evening of March 8.  The ladies of the two churches of the village will serve dinner each day in the dining room.  Everybody will be interested in making this institute the best ever held in this community."
(Source:  Racine Daily Journal February 15, 1910)

"The property of the Woodmen Hall Association is being greatly improved by grading up to the level of the highway in front of the hall."
(Source:  October 11, 1910)

"The question was presented, "shall the Town of Somers purchase the building known as Modern Woodmen Hall?"  The vote FOR was 57 and AGAINST was 132.
(Source:  Racine Journal April 5, 1922)

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