If it wasn't for a dedicated group of Browns Park residents and their supporters, Lodore Hall might not be standing.
Lodore Hall is an old place visible from Colorado Highway 318, not far from the Utah border.
At nearly 100 years old, the building was in disrepair until the Browns Park Homemakers Club, with the assistance of the Browns Park Refuge management, assumed the position as Lodore Hall's stewards.
The restoration of the hall is just one way the club serves the Browns Park community, club members say.
"The object of the club is the organization shall promote better living, recreation, education, spirituality and facilities for group interest," said Mara Molloy, club secretary.
Formed in the early 1950s, the club's members live across Moffat County and Colorado, as well as Durant, Okla.; Sunnyvale, Calif.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Livingston, Texas. Some of the out-of-state members used to live here, and others just visit frequently.
"We exclude no one," Molloy said.
The dues cost members $10, but they spend plenty of hours quilting and cooking for fund-raisers. Dottie Petrini Kasser joined the club in 1999, and since then has made two to three quilts a year. Tickets are sold for the quilts, which are given away at the club's annual Christmas party. The party, of course, takes place in Lodore Hall.
For Petrini Kasser, the building is important because since moving to Browns Park in 1959, she's attended weddings, funerals and Easter services there. In the 1960s, her late husband, Edward Kasser, helped build Highway 318, starting at Sunbeam.
"Many members look at Lodore Hall as not owned by those who live 10 to 15 miles within distance of it, but by the whole country, because it's a historic site," Molloy said.
Club members volunteered to maintain the building several years ago, and they've since received financial support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which owns the building.
Molloy said a wood-burning stove was replaced with a similar antique stove. Workers are in the process of changing a stovepipe that potentially could have burned the building down. Fish and Wildlife paid to build pit toilets outside, and a fire retardant roof has been added, an important feature considering the dryness of the land.
The club donated shingles and a linoleum floor. For five years they saved the money to make the purchases, Molloy said. A county- owned cemetery neighbors Lodore Hall, and the county paid for a new fence to be erected around it.
On June 19, the Homemakers Club will cook for a Father's Day open house at the John Jarvee Ranch, 15 miles west of the Utah border.
It's common for the club to cook for local events, including meetings of federal land agencies.
Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.