Fall of 1931: More Movies

By Patricia and Edward Shillingburg © 2006

Playbill: This is part of a playbill from the 1933 Shelter Island production of Henry’s Wedding. Please note it was played on Wednesday and Thursday nights, which was very common in those days. It was held in the Community Hall, which had a stage at the south end. Please note that there were 125 “prominent local people” in the cast. It is hard to imagine that enough people could have been found on the Island at that time of year to have an audience.

Unless otherwise noted, the source for this material is the Suffolk Times
    On Thursday night, October 1, Daddy Long Legs was shown and on October 8, The Front Page. The following Thursday, the film was The Connecticut Yankee, and the week after that, The Black Camel. Each showing included the feature, a cartoon or comedy short, and a newsreel.
    On October 10, the Community Club sponsored a dance at the Community Hall. Prizes for the elimination waltz were awarded to Miss Mary Esther Graham and John Nicolls. The door prize went to Miss Margaret McDermott of Brooklyn. Dances were planned for two Saturday evenings in November.
    “A fire-proof curtain for the Community Club Hall was put up in the early part of the week by the Rialto Scenic Advertising Co. of Ronkonkoma, L. I. The front of the curtain depicts a pretty scene, and around it are advertising spaces purchased by local business people. By arrangement between the advertisers, the Community Club and the Rialto Scenic Advertising Co., the curtain was obtained.”
    The Community Club continued to meet every Tuesday in various members’ homes.
    On the last Thursday in October, the picture City Lights was shown.
    On Friday afternoon, November 6 a quilting tea at the Community House was hosted by Miss Bowditch and Mrs. Graham Reevs. Admission was 25¢, which included refreshments, an entertainment and a share on the “blazing star quilt.” Entertainment consisted of two solos by Miss Genevieve Dickerson, two dance numbers by Miss Florence Coley, and several cornet solos by William Dickens. Mrs. Thomas T. Young accompanied Miss Dickerson and Miss Coley. The winner of the quilt was Mrs. M. Hammond.
    At the Armistice Dance on November 11, the members of the American Legion were invited as guests of the Community Club. Mike's Orchestra furnished music for dancing, and refreshments were served from a canteen. The committee in charge of the evening's arrangements included Mrs. F. A. Myers, Chairman, Mrs. C. D. Burke, Mrs. Graham Reevs, and Miss Belle Bowditch.
    “Frank White recently finished putting copper leaders on the east side of the Community House. Funds for this were raised through the efforts of Mrs. Ella Bowditch and Miss Belle Bowditch.”
    “The granite fence posts and iron chains were in place on the south and east boundaries of the Memorial Boulder site in time for Armistice Day. This was done by the Town Board. The Community Club's flower committee, as usual, placed decorations of flags, autumn leaves and chrysanthemums about the boulder for the day. The American flag again waved from the flagpole back of the boulder. The flag was given by Joseph Maury, and Messrs. Thomas and Harries Young climbed the pole, which had been unused for some years and fixed new flag ropes. This pole was bought in 1918 by popular subscription and used for the service flag for some years after.”
    On November 20, the Community Club hosted a turkey supper at the Bowditch Inn, and on November 26 a Barn Dance at the Community Hall. Everyone not in barn dance costume was fined 10¢. Entrance fee was 50¢.
    On Wednesday, November 25 the Sachem Council of the Daughters of America gave a play, An Old Fashioned Mother, at the Community Hall. Dancing followed the play. Over 300 people attended.
    On Thursday evening, December 10, the Community Club had a card party at the Community House. Bridge, Pinochle and Euchre were played.
    December 11: “A farewell party was tendered the Misses Anna and Juliana Behringer at the Shelter Island House, last Thursday evening by sixteen Community Club members. The affair was so managed that it was a complete surprise. Pinochle, Forty-two and Bridge were played. A light supper of sandwiches, cake and coffee, were served at eleven o'clock. The girls received many pretty gifts, useful for their trip abroad. [They were sailing with their parents to Europe for the parents’ 25th wedding anniversary.] Miss Juliana is assistant secretary of the Community Club, and Miss Anna, chairman of the Entertainment Committee.”
    Always fundraising, another card party was held by the Community Club on December 18 at the Community House.

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    We are ending our story at the end of 1931. The women of Shelter Island continued to raise funds to support the Community House. The Depression and World War II brought profound changes to the entire Country, and it was clear to the Community Club, which was now dominated by men (by 70% of voting members), that a stronger base was required to continue support of the building. Soldiers from the Great War and those who had just returned from a second deserved a gathering place. So, on November 27, 1946, the members of the Board of Directors of the Shelter Island Community Club, Inc. voted approval of a motion offered by Evans Griffing to dissolve the Club and transfer its assets, including the Community House, to Mitchell Post #281. On February 27, 1947, the entire membership (26 present and 20 by proxy) voted unanimously to do the same. Record of this vote is on file at the Shelter Island Historical Society.
    Seventy-six year ago this summer, the women who labored so long and so hard to build a Community House achieved their goal. It seems only fitting that those who are today striving to turn the same building into a Community Center, which was always its intended use, be wholeheartedly supported by the entire community in their efforts.

1923 Community Cookbook