top of page
The following account of the Kempton community center was found in storage above the center's kitchen. The date of the document's origin has not been determined, but the dates referred to in the document give a good clue as to its age.
THE KEMPTON COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
THE KEMPTON COMMUNITY RECREATION CENTER
The beginning of the Community Association of Albany Township goes back almost fifty years. In August 1926 Valores Dietrich, Marlon Sechler, and Samual Kunkel, trustees of the Community Association, paid to John A. and Hettie D. Schwoyer the slum of $760.00 for three and eight one hundredth acres of land. This land was to be used as a recreation park for the people of the community.
At first various organizations of the area held picnics at the park. Later, reunions, outings, receptions, and field day by the schools of Albany Township were scheduled. Also, athletic teams, such as basketball, baseball, and softball were organized. Tennis and quoiting were enjoyed at this time. Unavailable records make it impossible to mention all the names of the people who served as officers. However, we do know that Anson and Abner Greenawalt served as president and treasurer for many years. Others who served faithfully and have now been transferred to life triumphant were: Earl E. Bond, Hoyt Lenhart, Ray Ruppert, Warrren Kunkel, Oscar Lenhart, Walter Conrad, and Allen Krause. Others who held offices were: George Hamm, Herman Hunsicker. Ora J. Schroeder, Ethan Bond, Norman Dietrich, Kenneth Henry, and Melvin Dotterer.
On April 18, 1956 a separate organization was formed by a group of eighteen young people. This became known as the Kempton Community Center. Its purpose was to provide a place for recreation for young people. First officers were: Kermit Dietrich, Kenneth Stump, Stuart Trexler, Darlene Greenawalt, Joyce Kunkel, and Walter Conrad. Later on during the year, Ronald Wessner and Alta Dietrich became officers. Ralph Lutz, Ira J. Schroeder, and Frank Fuhrman were added as directors. This new organization also started out by having picnics to raise money. After a few years this led to a carnival or fair. The first Halloween and Christmas parties were orgnaized and have been held ever since.
In 1957 plans were made for a three-day carnival. This was really the beginning of the Kempton Fair, featuring contry and western music. A gas heating system and a cement floor were placed in the building about this time. Among the firsts for 1957 was a float for Halloween parades.
In 1958 a four-day carnival was held for the first time. The carnival was reduced to three days in 1959. Two firsts for this year were a fashion show and a New Year's Eve Party and Breakfast. The fashion show was dropped, but the New Year's Eve Breakfast has contiued up to the present time.
In 1960 the first horse show was held in conjunction with the three-day fair. For three years The Park Association and the Community Center worked together in all these functions, but it was apparent that two different organizations were not necessary. There were approximately three hundred members at this time.
A new organization was formed and was called the Kempton Community Recreation Center. The date of the charter was December 4, 1961. The first officers were as follows: President, Kermit Dietrich; First Vice President, Russel Henry; Second Vice President, Irwin Sechler; Secretary, Pauline Hamm; and Treasurer, Clark Billig. Directors were: Kenneth Henry, Arlin Lutz, Clair Riegel, Donald Stump, Arlan R. Schroeder, Warren Long, John Hemmerly Jr., Raymond Hamm, Howard Kunkel and Ronald Wessner.
The new organization decided that more land was needed. After much discussion, a few acres were pruchased from Mrs. Edna Albright, but the problem of parking and lack of space in the refreshment stand were not solved. Again, new ideas were discussed.
At a meeting in August 1961 it was decided to purchase the Donald Stump farm. This included approximately forty-four acres of land and also the barn. The Stumps were to keep their home and several acres of land. In addition, during this year, a womens organization was formed, It was known as the Kay Cee Ettes.
During the winter and spring months of 1963, the W K & S Railroad came into being. The land on the west side of the railroad tracks was sold to this group so that space to erect buildings for operations would be available. The Hawk Mountain Line, as it became known, opened Memorial Day of 1963, and continued for six years. During these years the Community Center operated the refreshment stand.
The Kempton Country Fair of 1963 was the last one to be held on the old park grounds. After a very good summer, the mortgage on the farm was satisfied. It was decided next to erect a buildilng on the new property. Construction of the building was begun in the early months of 1964. On April 4, 1964, the first meeting was held in the new building. The following day the first combination sale was held. It has been held ever since, up to the present time.
At this time it was decided to sell the former park grounds and pavilion. The purchaser was R.G. Wessner. The refreshment stand was moved to the new grounds. Next, it was decided to sell the former Stump barn to Howard Geisinger for the purpose of forming a farm museum.
A permanent stage was erected in 1965. New events for the 1965 fair were: a jeep rodeo, quarter midget races and "Es Lieblichst Maedel", Pa. Dutch Queen Contest. In 1966 the first farm festival was held by Mr. Geisinger.
In 1967, a tractor driving contest, wood pulp demonstration, soil judging contest, and a bus tour of the township conservation area were added.
By this time it was noted that the new building was already too small for merchants and businessmen to display products. Plans were made and the addition was ready for the 1968 fair.
During their years, the Kay Cee Ettes were very busy serving food at practically all events, such as banquets, receptions, sales, and the annual Christmas Bazaar.
The early 1970's at the Center were a continuation of the past years. The fair, spring sale, Howard Geisinger's Farm Festival, many household and contractors' sales, and receptions and banquets, made these years very busy and fruitful. A few new refreshment stands and outdoor bathrooms were added.
The aforementioned history is a condensed version by the Historical Committee whose members are as follows: Ethan Bond, Pauline Hamm, George D. Hamm, Herman Hunsicker, Arlan R. Schroeder and Ira J. Schroeder.
If you should know any more history of the Kempton Community Center please contact us so that it may be included in this accounting.
bottom of page