If you think a 62-year-old civic club is old, check out the clubhouse.
Volunteers for the Bayfield Lions Club are renovating their building in downton Bayfield, parts of which date to the late 1800s, when it was a meeting place for the Woodmen of the World.
The first stage of the renovations in the main hall have been completed. A red oak floor dating to the 1940s was refinished, new windows and lights were installed, and a fresh coat of paint has lightened up the 50-year-old panelling on the walls.
"This is great," Club President Jay Rhodes told club members when they gathered there for a meeting in February. "Thank you - thank you all - for your time."
Now the club is excited to show the renovations off to the public and start planning for the next stages of work: a kitchen renovation, then the exterior and grounds of the building.
Throughout all this, club members have been careful not to use club funds for building renovations. The renovations are being handled by a separate group, the Bayfield Lions Club Foundation, although the groups have many of the same members. All funds raised by the club are used for its eyesight projects, eyeglasses, a local scholarship, one-time grants for medical expenses, visits from Santa Claus, and donations to local athletic teams and groups. From 2009 to 2014, the club has donated $34,815 to various charities, and 87 percent of that money has stayed in La Plata County.
While Lions Club International was founded in 1917 in Chicago, the local club was founded in 1953 by a group of local businessmen. There have been several renovations to the hall over the years. Years ago, a group of local Boy Scouts gathered the rocks for the fireplace that forms the north end of the hall.
Ken Gaherty, who oversees the renovation project, said club members donated about 500 hours of labor in this most recent renovation. They are excited to have others see their work at the annual prime rib dinner for the foundation, its biggest fundraiser of the year, on April 11. Silent and live auction donations are being accepted for the event, as well.