CRESTON NEWS
Creston California
 Updated October 2020
Brief History of Creston's Various Civic Clubs and Community Garden
by Ann Spencer

The Creston history books in the San Luis Obispo County Library System have a lot of info about all of the clubs, school and church in Creston. Here is a brief summary:

      The Creston Thursday Gardener's Club began on May 19, 1960. Today, the name is simply the Creston Garden Club. It still meets on the third Thursday of each month, often with expert speakers on all kinds of topics. The Garden Club helps to maintain the all-volunteer community garden, which is located right next to the old fire station (now Creston Community Center) on Swayze Road. The club hosts a wonderful plant and bake sale every April and planted the garden in the front of the new library, which opened in 2003 across Adams Street from Creston Elementary School. Membership is growing annually, as more folks move here. See the Creston News History Page for more history of this garden and its supporters.
     As you have no doubt noticed, the birch trees inside the huge planter are surrounded by memorial bricks and bricks honoring local residents. If you would like to purchase a brick (they are $75 each), please call Judy at (805) 226-9489 and she will send or email you the correct form.
      UPDATE 2014: The main focus now of the Garden Club is the upkeep and development of the Community Volunteer Garden. As the Community Center is developed, there will be more trees planted, and the center will have a new parking lot and driving lanes. The Garden Club has grown to about 45 active members. They like to go on field trips and have visited many local businesses, such as local wineries and the olive farm on La Panza. This is a very hard-working group of very nice women and men. They have done many wonderful improvements to not only the Community Garden, but also to many area resident properties by hosting the plant sale each year.
      UPDATE 2015: The Garden Club is selling homemade pies this year for Thanksgiving. The choices are deep-dish apple, pecan, and pumpkin, served in beautiful, table-ready, glass pie plates! Check out the Creston News Contacts/Links Page for contact info and watch for a flier on the community bulletin board outside the post office! There is a limit of 60 pies available. The club plans to hand out order forms at Creston Classic Rodeo this year and also at the Creston Crazy Daze event being held on October 3rd at the Garden.
      UPDATE June 2016: The water well inside the garden, which also serves the new Community Center, began to go dry this month. Locals began hand watering with water brought in from their own homes. Around the second week of June, a local donated a 200-gallon water tank on a small trailer with a hose bib to fill buckets. Around the 19th of June, a local farmer (Noah) donated two 150-gallons water totes with gate valves for filling buckets, plus buckets on a trailer. The temperatures soared to over 105 degrees each day from June 20-29, so it was critical to continue hand watering. Thankfully, a local resident with Filipponi & Thompson Drilling donated the new well around the 23rd of June, and it should be connected to the old plumbing shortly. There is still the chance that a new pump will need to be purchased. A huge thanks to everyone involved with "saving our garden," which was created back in 1992/1993 by Jim and Pat Fairchild. It is now lovingly maintained by the Creston Garden Club.
      UPDATE 2018: Current mailing address: Creston Garden Club, PO Box 36, Creston 93432
      UPDATE Sept 2018: The club’s new year begins this month, as the club activities run from September through June. The first meeting of this year was today, Sept. 20th. The three "field trips" were announced by our program chairs, and the October meeting will be held at Harmony Lavender Farms in Atascadero. November's meeting will be at "Groves on 41" — an olive tree farm. February 2019 meeting will be held at the Educated Gardener in downtown Santa Margarita. The club is growing now and added three new members recently. The first volunteer garden work day will be on Saturday, Sept 22nd at 8 a.m. and all local residents are welcome to help out. Sheila has a list of all the garden areas that need attention. The Christmas Party will be Dec. 13th at the Community Center.

 The Creston Women's Club began in 1939 as the Creston Community Club with the purpose of getting together socially to meet neighbors, old and new, and to share items of community interest. Today, the club meets the first Monday of each month, except in July and August, and organizes fundraisers for its scholarship program, which provides cash awards to anyone living in the Creston Area attending any type of formal learning, such as college, trade school, flight school, nursing school, farrier school, whatever. During the 1950s and 1960s, according to the Creston history books, there was actually a real club house. During the 1980s and 1990s, the meetings were held in what was called the "Community Room," which was located just behind the elementary school office. Meetings moved into the school’s new mult-purpose room when the addition was completed in the early 2000s. The old community room was condemned and was finally torn down somewhere around 2007, if memory serves me. The janitor used to let us into the school on the first Monday of each month. However, in September of 2009, the janitor began working two different schools, so the club began meeting in the volunteer garden in the fall, and then moved to the church children's classrooms in January of 2010. Today, they meet in one of the trailers adjacent to Creston Community Center.
      At one time, there were four major fundraisers held by Creston Women’s Club for community benefit: the International Dinner held around late February; the Creston Spaghetti Feed, which coincides with the Wildflower Century cycling event in late April; Bingo Burger Bash, held the first weekend in June in the Volunteer Garden; and then the Chili Cook Off, held in the fall at the Rodeo Grounds or in the garden.
      UPDATE January 2014: The Women's Club has discontinued the International Dinner and the Chili Cook Off for now. For 2014, the club president is Rosie Hebron, who helped to re-start the club in the fall of 1984. Currently, the Club meets in the small trailer next to the river at the old fire station at the end of Swayze Road, which will soon become the NEW COMMUNITY CENTER! Stay tuned!
      UPDATE 2018: Current mailing address: Creston Women's Club, P.O. Box 63, Creston 93432

 The Creston Community Swimming Pool was built in the spring of 1960 through the efforts of dozens of volunteer residents and local businesses. It officially opened on July 16, 1960, according to photos and information provided by Ruth Hord. Sadly, the 100-year floods of 1969 undermined the pool and part of it washed out in the river. Federal money came through and the pool was rebuilt. In 1978, Eve Bundy and a small group of concerned citizens got together to raise the funds needed to keep the pool free to everyone. The Creston Pool Fund Barbecue and Barn Dance was started and continued through 2004. The mission of the Creston Community Association is to put on fundraisers to maintain, insure, staff, and improve the community pool. In 2006, the CCA hosted its first Hawaiian-themed Luau Reverse Drawing Dinner on the patio at the Loading Chute. It was a huge success and was extremely well organized and well attended. A huge thank you to local resident, Vickie Bittle, for being a major part of the CCA for most of her life! She has done an incredible job as CCA secretary and also has been the gate lady at the entrance gate at the Creston Classic Rodeo since the first one in 1996. She is really an excellent record keeper.
In 2009, the Creston Community Association chose a new theme for their annual fund raiser: the Beach Bash! It was a huge success, with nearly every seat full and a wonderful DJ. Everyone danced to rock and roll. County supervisor was unable to attend, but did make a cash donation to our pool fund. He sent a very nice letter with his donation check.
      UPDATE August 21, 2011: The Creston Community Association does a great job hosting their annual Pool Fund Party. This year, in addition to the dinner, dancing, games, silent and live dessert auctions, there was a very large poster with about 12 really great photos (enlarged to about 4" by 6") of the swimming pool as it was being built in the spring of 1960, with a short explanation of how this pool was created by the community, and how it began with just a few ladies at a PTA meeting talking about building a pool for the kids, and how the residents were asked to make a small cash donation to buy the materials and hire a contractor. The old photos are priceless. I hope that this large poster will someday hang at our soon-to-be built Creston Community Center.
      UPDATE 2018: Current mailing address: Creston Community Association, P.O. Box 84, Creston, 93432
 
      The Farm Bureau has been extremely active in Creston since the first meeting was held in 1916. In 1926, a request was granted to the Farm Bureau women for a "Home Department," which provides the women with University of California Extension service programs and a home advisor. Various workshops and demonstration programs are a great source of information to the "modern" homemaker. The Farm Bureau offers excellent health insurance and farm insurance packages through Cal-Farm Insurance.

      In 1992, Creston Activities Town Center Helping Hands (C. A. T. C. H. ) Fund was developed by several residents who came together to discuss the fact that Creston still does not have a Community Center Building. This group formed the organization each having one vote: Creston Community Church, Creston Women's Club, Creston Garden Club, Creston PTA, Creston Community Association, and Creston Volunteer Fire Department. In the late 1990s, the Men's Club became a member organization. Each organization was to pay $100 per year in dues, to help build up the fund. A large billboard, know as "the Thermometer," was hand painted and erected during the mid-'90s, to help the community watch the progress. The top of this "thermometer" registered $350,000 and was posted near to the corner of Swayze and Hwy 229.

      In 1994, a small group of residents gathered to come up with a fundraiser to help raise the needed dollars for the center. Creston Classic Rodeo was then born and the very "first ever" rodeo was held in 1996. The first rodeo was held on the dirt on acreage belonging to the Webster family, behind the Creston Garden, which is next to the Creston Community Center (formerly Creston Volunteer Fire Station). Over the years, many residents have donated thousands of dollars to build bleachers, shade awnings, water lines, electrical panels, livestock pens, a VIP area, trees, etc. Linda Rohrer, of Rohrer's Hay and Feed, donated the entire Powder River Arena! By August of 2007, CATCH had amassed $90,000. Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed time, energy, money, and prayers to this endeavor. There is more information on this effort at the Creston Advisory Body website.
UPDATE July 2009: The Catch Fund now has over $100,000 thanks to recent donations from the Creston Classic Rodeo Board.
      UPDATE 2010: The Thermometer has been removed from near the corner of Swayze and Hwy 229.
      UPDATE May 2010: The new CAL Fire station is to begin construction in Sept. or October of this year and be complete in early summer of 2011, according to RRM Design, the architects. This may set the ball in motion to create the long-awaited Community Center at the location of the existing, pole-barn building on Swayze Street, which must be re-designed and rebuilt to accommodate a large assembly space, and be brought up to 2011 building codes.
UPDATE July 2011: The Cal Fire station now has the concrete footings built and the grading appears complete. Rarig Construction of San Luis Obispo is the lead contractor. Today, July 12th, I noticed that the rodeo announcer booth (those two green, stacked, sea trains) has a brand new wooden staircase. The rodeo board and their committees work all year round to make wonderful improvements to the rodeo grounds. Last year ( 2010) they added decomposed granite walkways and the VIP Corral was improved with lots more tables and chairs, plus shade covers. Remember that the community supports this effort and hopes to someday take over the soon-to-be-abandoned volunteer fire station at the end of Swayze Street, and that pole barn will probably be retro-fitted/renovated to create our Community Center. Watch us grow!
      UPDATED Jan. 8, 2013: The brand new CAL FIRE station opened officially in July 2012, and it is a really good looking building. The landscaping was done by groups of residents under the direction of 5th District Supervisor Jim Patterson. Debbie Arnold is the new 5th District supervisor as of this month. The new CAL FIRE station contains a "community" meeting room, big enough for 25 folks. The Garden Club met there in November 2012, and, may continue whenever it is needed.
      UPDATE January 2013: The building permits to renovate the OLD Volunteer Fire Station, located on Swayze Road, were filed with the County of SLO planning department in September, 2012, according to CATCH Fund Board Member Rosie Hebron. Fund raising is in full swing. The renovation will take place in 4 phases. It is hoped that each of the participating member community organizations will host a fund raiser each year and have the profits/proceeds donated to the CATCH building fund. In 2012, the Creston Friends of the Library became the newest member organization to the CATCH Board, meaning that a representative has voting privileges and helps in the decision making process. Mike Barrett has done an outstanding job in 2011 and 2012 in being the lead coordinator of the massive project.
      UPDATE Dec. 2014: The old Thermometer has not been updated since 2010, and is leaning against the wall inside the OLD fire station, which is now called "The Creston Community Center “!
 For more info on the CATCH FUND, please visit their web page.
      UPDATE 2018: Current mailing address: CATCH FUND, P.O. Box 14, Creston 93432
      UPDATE Fall 2018: Creston Women's Club member Jennifer Best's San Luis Obispo County Community Grant application resulted in a $13,000 award to CATCH Fund for landscaping and hardscaping around the center. There is now a fabulous sculpture and greenery and concrete benches, plus the new walkways (ADA compliant) and handicapped parking, among other improvements. The annual CATCH Fund Benefit Dinner will be held on Saturday, Dec. 15th at the Center.
      UPDATE January 2019: Thanks to the hard work of all those affiliated with the Creston Classic Rodeo, a donation of $5000 was presented to the CATCH FUND during the annual Creston CATCH Christmas Dinner Party !
Additionally, Sheila Lyons worked very hard to create an application for a grant from the SLO County Community Foundation raising money for the outside, covered patio adjacent to the Community Center. The grant was approved for $16,250! This money will cover the costs of pouring the concrete patio. She continues to apply for grants, in addition to her other leadership skills with the Creston Advisory Body and the Garden Club! If you see Sheila, please give her a huge "THANK YOU " for donating enormous amounts of time and energy.
The new kitchen sink funded by Creston Women’s Club is gorgeous. The bathrooms are now complete. Thank you to everyone involved with this enormous project. It is truly a community asset for Creston.

      Creston Library has always been a very important part of our rural area. In order to move the library from the 16-foo-by-16-foot building on the corner of O’Donovan Road and Adams Street, to a larger building, a group of locals formed the "Friends of the Creston Library" in the mid-1990s. One of the first big fundraisers was a well-received art show and sale in October of 1996. It was held in one of the oldest and most historic buildings on our main street, Webster Road. The new modular library building opened in 2003 and is staffed by Kathleen "Cookie" Saffell. Her mother, Norma Heilmann, retired as the librarian in 1977 after many decades of service. Keep your eye out for posters around town that advertise a book sale now and then.
      The library installed internet access and wi-fi in March of 2009. The current contact for Friends of the Library is Cookie Saffel at (805) 237-3010. New for 2010 is the fund raiser created by the "Friends of the Creston Library": a monthly silent auction, starting in March, with the theme of "For the Gardener," which is a basket full of gardening tools and reference materials. There are also books for sale all the time, on a rack inside the library. The library contains dozens of excellent movies — both on DVD and VHS tape — available for checking out at no charge to you! The DVDs are available for one week, and the VHS tapes are available for three weeks. If the library doesn't have the particular show or film you want, you can request it from the system which includes the entire West Coast inventory! The entire history of the library is now an article posted on the Creston News History page. The Friends of the Library meets every month at noon on the second Tuesday. In 2015, Brooke became the president. Our goal is to landscape the back yard and set up tables for sitting and reading.
     UPDATE 2018: In December of 2016, local residents, Kay and Paul Kunzler planted a pineapple guava bush and an 8-foot-tall White Robed Locust in the library back garde. Ann Spencer planted two heirloom purple lilac bushes around the same time. Brooke has planted numerous iris and other bulb-type plants along the new white plastic fence!
      UPDATE Sept. 2018: Thank you to Creston Women’s Club President Jennifer Best, local citizen and volunteer Kay Kunzler and a committed crew of Creston 4H Club members for weeding and working the back yard of the Library. Another "work day" is planned for this fall to continue the beautification of our back yard!
    
     The Creston Ladies Poker Club has been meeting since 1984 around town at the member's homes. Additionally, there have been assorted trips to Laughlin, to the Mid-State Fair, and entries in the Creston Parade, which was held for decades in conjunction with the Annual June Pool Fund Barbecue. The last year of the Pool Fund Barbecue was 2004.

       The Creston Men's Club originated in 1994 with the purpose of helping the community fulfill its needs and for fellowship. Activities over the years have included the Big Buck Contest, Halloween for the kids, firewood raffles, and, more recently, their incredible food booth at the Creston Classic Rodeo and their major fundraiser, the Reverse-Drawing dinner, held at the Loading Chute in May. Each year, the Men's Club awards cash scholarships to area students, helping them to afford a higher education. In the summer of 2007, the club invested in a club house/sea train, which is located behind the Volunteer Fire Station.
     UPDATE 2012: The sea train has been removed from the Rodeo Grounds area.
     UPDATE 2018: I do not have the current mailing address for this club. This club is quite active and awards a "Citizen of the Year" at the annual Christmas Street Party held on the very last day, before Christmas, that the post office delivers mail. This club also cooks on an open grill the amazing breakfast burritos and the fantastic sausage that are served during the street party. Additionally, they have a large food booth (tri-tip) at the annual Creston Classic Rodeo, held in mid-September since 1996.
     
     COMMUNITY UPDATE Fall 2020: The threat created by pandemic COVID-19 has shut down the school and library and most community events indefinitely. Closures were mandated in March and have continued for months now.
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