GLENDO – There was a regular hootenanny held at the Cottonwood Hall last weekend. Sponsored by Platte Valley Bank, Bloedorn Lumber, Wheatland Country Store, Western Building Supply, Laramie Peak Motors and the Record-Times, there was live music by the Country Club Band, good food, good company and a hopping dance floor.
Pulling up to the building built in the 1930s was like stepping back in time. Dodging cow pies as you headed toward the ramp into the vintage hall was just like it had been over 50 years ago. There was an entryway for coats, a dining area with tables and a dance floor with a stage for the band and benches lined the room for tired dancers or spectators. Wall hangings showed business sponsors representing the many decades that have passed in that space. Most the businesses don’t exist anymore. Some even had phone numbers that were just two or three digits. The most memorable antique was the outhouse. Standing just a tad crooked with a door that wouldn’t latch just behind the building. That night there was even snow on the wooden seat. The image only needed a Sears, Roebuck and Company catalog for perfect authenticity. Thankfully a preferred product was provided.
You might expect an older crowd to be attending in such an antique venue, but that was not the case. Kids, young people, parents, the ages were as vast as the personalities. After a group prayer, partygoers first ate the potluck fare before trickling into the dance hall. Little ones played a rousing game of tag while the band warmed up and as dancers filled the floor they took care to keep a look out for the children that were playing and dancing along with them. There was swing dancing and waltzing, couples doing the two-step and others.
Cottonwood Hall is on the Brickman Ranch owned by Doug and Anne Brickman. The annual dance is not always held at the same time, but has been around for decades.
“It’s a reflection of the value system, about what’s important. There are kids here aged 2 to 90-years-old,” said Keith Geis of Platte Valley Bank with a grin. “This is something you would have seen 30-40 years ago. We can still create that and at the end of the day it’s about community.”
Last summer the Wheatland FFA kids were looking for a way to earn money to attend the FFA Nationals in Indianapolis, Ind. (They were there last week and did very well. More on that story next week.) So they were paid to give the whole building a fresh coat of paint on the outside and they did it. Just another moment that could have been witnessed years ago. Kids working for something that was important to them.
As much as things change, there are still pockets of the old days around. Hopefully, our county will still keep hosting these moments so they aren’t lost forever.
Editor's Note: The information about the management of Cottonwood Hall was incorrect. The Cottonwood Hall is managed by Steve and Carrie Paisley, the hall sits, and is owned, by the Coleman Trust - family of Charles and Jean Coleman. The Record-Times apologizes for the error.