Creston California
Brief History of the various Civic Clubs and the Community Garden in Creston  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 and the school and the 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 the month, often with expert speakers on all kinds of topics. The Garden Club helps to maintain the Volunteer community garden, which is located right next to the Fire station on Swayze St. 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. Membership is growing annually, as more folks move here. I have more history of the Volunteer Garden on my History page, added in March 2009.
 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 ) then please call Judy Blankenship at  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 folks. There are several members who are men - it is no longer a women-only club ! 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 home made pies this year for Thanksgiving. The choices are deep dish apple, pecan, and pumpkin,  served in beautiful, table ready glass pie plates ! Check out my contact/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 should be giving out order forms at the 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 in 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 water tank on a small trailer with a hose bib to fill buckets. Around the 19th of June, a local farmer ( Noah ) donated two large ( 150 gallons each ) water totes with gate valves for filling buckets, plus buckets on a trailer. The temperatures soared to over 105 degrees each day from the 20th - 29th of June, so it was critical to continue hand watering. Thankfully, a local resident with Filipponi and Thompson  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 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 downtown Santa Margarita. The club is growing now and added 3 new members recently. The first volunteer Garden work day will be on Saturday, Sept 22nd at 8 am 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 Center.

    The Creston Women's Club began in 1939 as the Creston Community Club with the purpose of getting together in a social way to meet their neighbors, old and new, and to share items of community interest. Today, the Women's club meets the first Monday of the month, except in July and August, and organizes fundraisers for the Scholarship Program, wich 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 1950's and 1960's, according to the Creston History Books, there was actually a real club house.  During the 1980's and 1990's, the meetings were held in what was called the "Community Room", which was located just behind the elementary school office. After the Multi-purpose room was built in the early 2000's, meetings were held there. 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 Women's club began meeting in the volunteer garden in the fall, and then moved to the Church children's classrooms in January of 2010. Currently,  there are four major fundraisers for the Woman's Club: The International dinner held around late February, the Spaghetti Feed, which is held to feed the bicycle riders doing the Wildflower Ride, held the last Friday in April,  the Bingo Bash, held the first weekend in June, held at the Volunteer Garden,  and then the Chili Cook Off, held in the fall at the Rodeo Grounds.
   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 Street, which will soon ( this year ! ) become the NEW  COMMUNITY  CENTER  ! Stay tuned !
   Update  2018::  Current mailing address:   Creston Women's Club, PO 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 Barbeque 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 the first ever 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, Vicky 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.

added on 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 talking about building a pool for the kids - at a PTA meeting - and how the residents were asked to make a small monetary (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,  PO Box 84, Creston,  93432
       The Farm Bureau has been extremely active in Creston since the first meeting held in 1916. In 1926, a request was granted to the Farm Bureau women for a "Home Department", which provides the women with 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.

       CATCH  FUND: In 1992, several residents came together to discuss the fact that Creston still does not have a Community Center Building. This group formed the Creston Activities Town Center Helping Hands organization, better known as C A T C H. Member organizations, each having one vote, were the Creston Community Church, the Creston Women's Club, the Garden Club, the  PTA, the Creston Community Association ( these folks support the public swimming pool ), and the Volunteer Fire Dept.  Later, in the late 1990's, 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-90's, to help the community watch the progress. The top of this "thermometer" registers $350,000 and can be seen today 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. The Creston Classic Rodeo was then born and the very "first ever" rodeo was held in 1996. You can find a link to the rodeo on my Links page. The first rodeo was held on the dirt on acreage belonging to the Webster family, behind the Volunteer Garden, which is next to the 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 ! As of this writing in late August of 2007, we have nearly $90,000 in our CATCH trust fund. I would like to personally thank each and every one of you who have contributed time, energy, money, and prayers to this endeavor.  You know who you are.  There is more information on this issue at the  Creston Advisory Body website, which is linked on my Links page.
  UPDATE:  2010 ::  the Thermometer was removed from near the corner of Swayze and Hwy 229.
Update July 2009::  The Catch Fund now has over $100,000 thanks to recent donations from the Creston Classic Rodeo Board.
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 Rosie Hebron, who is a CATCH  Fund Board Member.  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 ( such as the Women's Club, etc. ) 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.
      Added in 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.
   Added 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 !) now have a brand new wooden staircase leading up to the booth.  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 increased with lots more tables and chairs, plus shade covers. Remember that the community supports this effort and hopes to some day  take over the  soon-to-be-abandoned  Volunteer Fire Station at the end of Swayze Road, and that Pole Barn will probably be retro-fitted / renovated to create our Community Center. Watch  us  grow !
Added   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 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 the web site page - button is above - exclusive to CATCH  !!
  UPDATE  2018:: current mailing address:  CATCH FUND,  PO Box 14, Creston 93432
  Update Sept. 2018: The annual CATCH Fund Raiser 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  $$$  for the outside, covered Patio adjacent to the Community Center --  and, praise God, the Grant was approved for  $16,250  !  This $$$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. Jennifer Best applied for and received a grant to improve the landscaping and the hard scape 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 new kitchen sink is gorgeous. The bathrooms are now complete. Thank you to everyone involved with this enormous project. It is truly a community asset for Creston.

        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.
    updated  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 is served on the tables during the street party. Additionally, they have a large food booth ( Tri Tip ) at the annual Creston Classic Rodeo, held in mid- Sept since 1996.

        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 Bar B Que. The last year of the Pool Fund Bar B Q was 2004.

        The Creston Library has always been a very important part of our rural area. In order to move the Library to a larger building, a group of locals formed the "Friends of the Creston Library" in the mid-1990's. 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. 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  Services and WI FI in March of 2009. The current contact for Friends of the Library is Cookie Saffel at 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 - meaning at no charge to you ! The DVD's are available for one week, and the VHS tapes are available for 3 weeks. If the Library doesn't have the particular movie  (or TV show ) 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 "History" page. The Friends of the Library meet every month at noon on the second Tuesday. The leader -starting in 2015 - is Brooke.  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 a 8 foot tall White Robed Locust in the "back yard". 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 Jennifer and her 4 H crew - plus Kay - 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 !
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