Bayview Community Hall
Owned by the community, for the community
Written by Jim Freeman, quoting excerpts of local historian Carrie Melendy from a 4/8/90 interview with the South Whidbey Record. The full text is in Lorna Cherry’s South Whidbey and Its People, Vol. II”. Borrowed from the Bayview Community Hall website.
The Bayview Hall was originally created by the “Whidby Community Hall Association” with funding from 240 twenty-five-dollar bonds at 2% per annum in 1928. When it was organized in 1927 the goal of the Whidby Community Hall Association was the construction of a hall large enough to accommodate social gatherings on South Whidbey. Every South Whidbey community had its own small building in 1927, but none really were adequate.
A small log building in the Bayview School yard was old and unsafe. It was later disassembled. Frank Olsen, a Brooks Hill carpenter, drafted a plan and became supervisor and chief builder for a token salary. Everyone else volunteered. Herb Weedin donated the land. Bill Burke, then owner of the Bayview Cash Store, donated all the nails.
A gas engine was brought in to produce electricity fully 16 years before Puget Power and Light could offer electricity in the area. Frank Melendy and Fred Kohwles did the electrical work. The building was constructed of the best Whidbey Island materials. A beautiful maple floor was installed. As the crews worked on the hall, the ladies fried chicken, made gallons of potato salad and baked pies for the noon lunches.
When the building was complete it quickly gained a reputation for its fine dance floor, attracting people from North Whidbey who came just for the dancing. In several years, while income remained steady from rental, dances, meetings and plays, the hall was paid off and the community saw that is hall stayed in good repair. (It’s my understanding that many people decided to not cash in the bonds.)
Later the association added a projection booth. Movies were shown once or twice a week. The Langley High junior prom and senior ball were regular events at the Bayview Hall. Oscar and Nellie Thompson were the first to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary in the hall. In the mid 1940’s the Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club contracted for management of the hall. Later, when the club moved to its own building, the Bayview Hall became the only site for teen dances.
The need for a community hall on South Whidbey has not changed. This superb monument to Whidbey’s pioneering spirit is still a center of social activity in the community.”
Goosefoot and Bayview Community Hall
Bayview Hall and Goosefoot live by the “good neighbor” philosophy. A hard-working volunteer board of directors manages rentals and the maintenance of Bayview Hall. Goosefoot provides septic service, additional parking, and has assisted with other improvements to support the Hall’s continued operation and contributions to the social life of the community.
In 2019, with a $25,000 community challenge grant, Goosefoot helped Bayview Hall raise over $50,000. The funding was used for much needed lead abatement, repairs and painting.
Bayview Community Hall Today
Bayview Hall is home to dances, weddings, community celebrations and fundraisers throughout the year. Their annual community Halloween and New Year’s Eve parties are legendary and attract revelers of all ages. The Bayview Farmers Market moves inside the Hall each November and December for their holiday market. And Goosefoot holds their annual Mardi Gras Ball and Earth Day festivities in the Hall each year.
This special gathering space is cherished by the South Whidbey community. We are very lucky to have it!
“Bayview Community Hall creates, holds, and supports community!”–Karina Bergen