History of the Lyalta Community Club

The Lyalta Community Club has existed, in one form or another, since 1940 to provide the citizens of Lyalta and surrounding area with social opportunities for all age groups.

Club History

From Along the Fireguard Trail: A History of Lyalta-Ardenode-Dalroy Districts by Lyalta, Ardenode, Dalroy Historical Society © 1979

By Leona Snoxel

Mr. William Gorman saw a need for a hall in Lyalta. He owned a store at Dunshalt, which was no longer in use. This store had been built in 1922. Dunshalt was situated one and a half miles east of Nightengale, where he and his family formerly lived. In the spring of 1937, the store was moved in sections to Lyalta in Mr. DeNeve's truck, driven by Billy Gorman. With the help of local men, a 22'x40' wood-frame building was soon assembled. This building became the "Lyalta Hall" or was sometimes referred to as "Mr. Gorman's Hall". It is situated on the NE 50' of SW 80' of the SE 60' of parcel A in the Land Titles office for the Southern Alberta land registration district as Lyalta 7139FN on Mr. S. L. (Pete) Torgrimson's land on the SW 8-25-26-W4th.

The Canadian Order of Foresters met at the C.N.R. station for meetings previously, now they were able to use the hall for meetings, card parties and the occasional dance. The Lyalta Ladies' Red Cross used it from 1940 to 1947. About the first dance shower held in the hall was for Leon and Annie McLauchlin in 1940. Lyalta became the central place for various organizations to hold meetings and other social functions. Mr. William Gorman kept up the hall until January 1945, when he sold it and its contents, including the piano, for $700, to the newly formed Lyalta Community Club .

The L.C.C. made improvements on the hall through the years. In 1947 lumber was purchased to line the walls and ceiling, ventilators put up, new steps built, and doors changed to meet specifications. In 1949 the club resolved to build a 22'x16' addition to the north end, part of this to be a kitchen. Most of our donations were received from members in 1951 and the remainder in 1953 when the extension was built in late fall.

On March 20, 1950 the Lyalta Rural Electrification Association offered to bring power to our hall, this service to be valued at $125, at no charge to the Community Club. In return the club was to grant the use of the hall to the R.E.A. at $5 per meeting until the sum of $125 was depleted. The club was to pay $3 per month, $2 being for service charge and $1 for 50 kilowatts. This rate was steadily increased through the years. The hall was soon wired and it was gratifying to have the power in April 1950. Previous to this two gas lamps provided our lighting.

The hall was heated by a wood and coal heater. The price of coal varied from $7.10 to $9.80 per ton, usually a couple of tons were sufficient for a year. A wood and coal cookstove was used to help heat the kitchen, keep food hot at suppers and to make tea and coffee. A cookstove was still in use when the hall was closed December 1978. About 1955, the Women's Institute replaced the coal heater with an oil heater. The ceiling was insulated and the outside walls were covered with asphalt shingles and the hall was painted inside.

We were fortunate to have the town residents do the janitor work for the Community Club and the Women's Institute for $60 per year. The duties consisted mainly of starting and keeping the fires going a half day or more previous to scheduled use of the hall in order to have it warm. The coal heater had to be refilled a few times. The oil heater sometimes had to be repaired in the cold building before it would start. Mr. Harold Payne helped us for years after the L.C.C. was formed in 1945. Then Mr. and Mrs. F. McKenzie, Mrs. Doris Gorman and later Mr. Harold Grice helped us with the hall fires. After the propane furnace was installed, the members took turns serving on the clean-up committee and turning on the furnace.

In 1966 and 1967 the L.C.C. did a major renovation with the aid of government grants. The hall was raised by York Shaw movers and foundations placed under it. A new hardwood floor was installed, entrance and bar were built on the south side, ceiling tile and hardboard was put on the walls. A propane furnace replaced the oil heater and cupboards were replaced with new ones. Mr. and Mrs. John Hall made a donation with which a storage room was built on the north end of the hall. Much voluntary work was contributed by the members during this and other renovations. The men did the carpenter work while the ladies helped with cleaning, painting and serving meals and coffee to the workers.

All the renovations greatly improved the Community Hall which was still in use until December 1978. On June 12, 1978, a new hall was commenced on the Lyalta Recreation Site with all modern facilities.

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