Seniors review UUFA meeting places from 1956 to the present day

On Sunday, February 10, Arline McCarthy, Bob Borchard, Milt Ploghoft, Ruth and Chuck Overby, Bob and Lois Whealey, William Beale, Dru Riley Evarts, and Jimmy Tong was the senior citizen group that reviewed the history of the various  housing choices of our Unitarian (later UU) group as it rose from infancy to a congregation large enough and imaginative enough to build the one-of-a-kind art structure we have called home since 1970.

Ploghoft spoke of the very earliest days, when the group met in homes and the old Hillel Foundation on University Terrace near the present Gordy Hall. It even met in Gordy (then called the Music Hall). Of those places, all except Gordy are now gone.

Next was a small church that Jimmy and Harriet Tong had bought on Hocking Street, with a parsonage behind where the Tongs lived and where the Sunday School kids met every week. Jimmy recently sold that house; the new owners razed the church just a few weeks ago. Jimmy told us about the Fellowship’s five years on Hocking Street, complete with photos of the adults in the church and the kids in the house.

Lois and Bob Whealey reviewed our next three “homes” and showed photos of them — Beacon  School (then off Terrace Drive), West Side School (on Central Avenue) and the Seventh Day Adventist Church (on Morris Avenue). They related a number of adventures that happened during those four years or so.

Then came William Beale, the chief figure in overseeing the construction of a solid cement-block building (he called it a box) on which artist John Spofforth could hang the beautiful, imaginative brick work that has become our signature as free thinkers and appeciators of beauty. He told some great stories, as did the others on the program, but time was too short to go deeply into these things.

Artist John Spofforth could not be with us, but he sent some beautiful writing about his thoughts as he designed the building, the “altar” in the grove, and the columbarium. These passages were read by Bob Borchard, who had made two sets of entry doors for the building, and Arline McCarthy, who also talked about her late husband, Cliff’s, artistry on the north wall and the decorative balusters on the deck.

Cameron Foster videotaped the program so others could see it, the Public Access TV station could show it, and we could preserve it in our history. Dru Riley Evarts arranged and moderated the program. Jimmy Tong  also played the piano for the service.

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