Centennial booklet highlights farms, clubs, horses

Centennial booklet highlights farms, clubs, horses
By : 
Mary Jo Dathe
Glimpses of Yesteryear

Written in 1955, appended in 1980, the Spring Valley centennial booklet noted, "The soil and climate of the Spring Valley vicinity has always been an important factor in causing the farms of the region to be among the most productive in the state.  The farms are well-kept; stock and grain and produce are most productive.”  The centennial finds two farms have been owned and occupied by members of the same family for 100 years.  Mrs. Worth McFarland, a granddaughter of Orrin Treat, owns the farm Mr. Treat pre-empted in 1853 (now owned by others), and Mrs. L.E. Heidlebaugh now owns the farm taken the same year by her grandfather, Joseph Kellogg.  (Her son, Ken Heidlebaugh, still lives on the original farm.)

What about the Spring Valley Township Farm Bureau?   It has been holding monthly meetings for over 30 years.  First held at the Bell School, H. Worth McFarland and Hiram Howard were active in organizing 25 or so families.  Township units are the grass roots of the national organization, and eventually part of the American Farm Bureau Federation.  The local Farm Bureau has over the years sponsored such worthwhile programs as 4-H, soil conservation, Crop Improvement Association, R.E.A., the University Extension Projects and many more.

Spring Valley 4-H clubs?  In the spring of 1927 a club was organized and some of the early projects were: sewing, canning, baking, gardening, home beauty, and livestock projects.  We are so proud of the contribution of these 4-H clubs!

Valley Grange, organized in 1945; the chapter closed with 66 members.  Frank Persons was the first master; degree work was done by both youth and adults.  In October 1946, the Juvenile Grange was organized and it has proved a great benefit to the community.  "Scotch lighting" of bicycles has been a yearly project; a safety light was installed at the intersection of highways 63 and l6.  After the cyclone in 1953, the Grange helped farmers rebuild and also furnished food, clothing and other necessities. 

Three plaques and several U.S. savings bonds have been won in the State Community Service.  Also, blue ribbons were won by Booster Night lecture programs.   Plays, card parties, homemaker groups, have been among the entertainment features for the public.  Residents of Spring Valley have always shown a keen interest in sports.  One of the first recorded in the town's history is skating:  everybody skated!  When spring arrived, every vacant lot had a ball game going on; a popular sport is the inter-church group of kittenball. 

Horses?  As early as 1880 Spring Valley had a Driving Association, and many business and professional men were proud possessors of fine horses.  Later a racetrack on North Section was built in 1890 and there was much interest in fast horses.  (See the present oval track at the high school!)  Frank Thornhill drove a $l0,000 racer, Nervolo, in 1890; he was sold in 1903 for $15,000.  Saddle clubs were very active and the largest in the state. 

Swimming pool?  At the time of the centennial in 1955, there was no pool at Frankson Park.  Since the dam went out at Lake George (west of town), school buses have taken children to the semi-weekly occasions at the municipal pools there in Rochester.  However, doctors William Johnson and Willard Peterson have undertaken the sponsorship of a project to restore facilities at Lake George.  When more money and labor is completed, the swimming can be restored at Lake George.  (The sand bottom only lasted a time, and eventually the pool was built at the park...it now requires some updating!)

Nature's superb handwork, created through centuries, will thrill visitors to Mystery Cave, the underground cavern of beauty, located near here. Trained courteous guides are there to lead the visitors into mysterious rooms and corridors whose beauty is breath taking.  You'll see a constant array of stalactites and stalagmites as you walk through block after block through amazing passageways.  Suddenly, awe-inspiring, you'll come upon the lovely Turquoise Lake whose shimmering clear water reveals nature in it most expressive creation.  Every visitor to Spring Valley will want to visit Mystery Cave, just south of here.