The idea of building a community hall, “Freeland Hall,” was conceived in August of 1914 by the Freeland Improvement Club. A committee was sent to ask The First Thursday Club (which had been organized in May 1902 for the purpose of “uplifting of women and welfare of society,” their motto being “Do your own thinking”) to help with the building/funding of the hall. The ladies club contributed $25 to the building fund with the stipulation that a separate room be provided in the hall for their use. The building was constructed by volunteer labor sometime after the spring of 1915.
After construction of the Freeland Hall the Freeland Improvement Club’s history is unsure. It may have dissolved or played a minor role in the function of the hall with a manager as caretaker. The First Thursday Club continued to use the hall. In the 1940’s a “Community Activity Club” was organized. This group applied for non-profit status with the State of Washington and becomes legally known as the Holmes Harbor Activities Club and on 15th of May 1958. The purpose:
Throughout the hall’s history it was used for community events, dances and club meetings. In recent years it has become known as a site for beautiful weddings and wedding parties. Over the decades HHAC has maintained and rented the hall for events.
In 2001 HHAC undertook its greatest improvement program. From June 17th to July 17th the building was fitted with girders on the north and south sides using cables between them to strengthen the structure. A concrete foundation was put under the north side. The north wall was brought up to code with insulation and fire blocks. The horizontal siding had been removed, refinished with stain and reapplied in board and batten style. Then the French doors, transom and deck were added. At the same time the building was rewired by Island County. The interior kitchen was moved and remodeled. Both kitchens were converted to gas, the main kitchen being upgraded to a County Approved Kitchen. The improvements with the exception of the electrical were done using volunteer labor and donations; a plaque hangs in the hall honoring those who contributed. Later HHAC volunteers cleared ivy and underbrush to improve the park area on the north side of the hall.
Holmes Harbor Activities Club continues to grow and prosper. Improvements to the hall have become their primary focus in the preservation of the Freeland Hall. HHAC presently rents out the hall for special events and holds their monthly meetings on the first Thursday of the month.
The history of the hall was compiled from the original minutes, notes, receipts and newspaper clippings that were saved over the decades by the two clubs. The first 5 decades were compiled in 1952 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the First Thursday Club. Following their lead in 2004, when Freeland Hall was chosen as a historic site, Betty Moore, David Engeset, Mona Nelson & Lois Hansen researched the documents to write the next four decades to the present. The history from 1992 to the present is being compiled and will be posted once completed. The history of the two clubs and the hall are broken into 10 year increments listed below.