MAIFEST - SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2024
MAIFEST - SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2024
A mutual appreciation of the out-of-doors, a desire to share in the peace and beauty of the woods, streams and hills plus the willingness to work and make it all possible is where it began.
In 1938 a group of friends, under the leadership of our first president, Emil Auer, formally requested a Charter form the State of New York. The Charter was granted on April 1, 1938 and the Spring Garden was born. Funds for the purchase of property were raised by means of non-interest bearing bonds which were sold to the membership only. It was then that a search was made to find a suitable place on which to build the necessary facilities to make the Spring Garden a self-supporting enterprise.
Many locations were suggested by the Charter members who drove around Western New York seeking the most desirable spot. Finally, our present location was chosen and the reasons are all too obvious for it contained all the things that were deemed necessary to our wellbeing – a stream winds gently through the wooded hills where the beauties of nature have remained as undisturbed as possible. In short, it answered all the requirements that had been sought.
When we examine the history of the United States we find that at that point we had a great deal in common with the early settlers of our country. From the farmer’s road that led to the rear pasture a proper road was cut. This gave access to the lower area where most of our twenty-one cottages are found. Then the ground was cleared and leveled in preparation for our picnic hall. All this was not an uncoordinated effort. Plans had been drawn up by the Charter members and it was a stroke of good fortune that we had the talent that was needed for each task. There was an engineer who drew up the plans for the hall, an electrician to do the wiring, a plumber to install the pipes and drains, carpenters to carry out the plans and all the other willing workers – from small children who did all the work they could – to our women members who cleared the thorny crab-apple trees from the lower meadow, mixed cement and often did a man’s work.
A sawmill was rented and set up in the area where the Daly cottage now stands. In the early spring morning the sound of the engine to which the saw was to be coupled brought a stir of excitement to all who heard it. A long belt that drove the saw was slipped over the pulley and the big saw blade began to spin. Earlier a group of men had gone up into the woods and began sawing down trees that were chosen for their suitability. With the jingle of harness and the straining of hooves against the hills, a team of rented horses pulled the cut sections to the top of the hill south of the Daly cottage. Then while the team stood steaming in the cool morning, puffing with the effort they had made, the logs were rolled down the hill and set on the saw mill. There logs were cut into beams and boards that form the inside of our present hall. The wood, now lumber, was transported to the hall site and formed into the pre-build sides and supporting members which were raised in place on the prepared foundation by the many willing hands as it had been done in years gone by. Then, while the sounds of hammering made it seem as if everyone must have had a hammer, the hall took shape. A feverish pace was necessary because even though it seemed impossible a picnic had been planned for that May 30, 1938, only a short time away.
This has been the guiding spirit of the Spring Garden. Never content to rest after one task has been completed but always looking forward to what can be done to improve our Park. From this beginning, we now have one of the finest recreation spots in Western New York that is not only self-sustaining but as modern as is possible. Summer cottages are used by many of the members not only on the weekends but all summer long. One of the most excellent high fidelity systems available carries out thanks to our Creator each Sunday morning when the sound of ancient bells, choirs and organ music remind us of the many blessings we enjoy on our forty-eight acres.
Many changes have taken place in the 55 years that have passed. Most are cosmetic in nature but are most attractive.
A great deal of credit belongs to our resident carpenters and other skills. Ernest Mullerschon designed the addition to the front of the hall and, with Ludwig Friess and many helpers, made possible more seating inside if weather was bad. New furnishings inside the bar, with Don Bohn directing, has made service better and was a needed improvement. Jim Martin has provided skills and equipment to keep our hall scrubbed and clean each year. Not to mention his purchase and many trips to get supplies for each picnic. In addition to this, Jim and Frank Jenning (Whitey) have kept the water flowing in the Park.
What else has been added? In the meadow below the hall there is a platform for dancing, a new hot dog stand and these were jointly built by our members and members of the Schuhplattler Geb. Verein Edelweiss. These facilities have made possible the “Waldfest,” an annual July event, where as many as 3,200 people have been in our park that day. This does not count our members who work that day and the “Verein” members who also work. Never did we think it was possible we would have such attendance.
The wall, newly built of railroad ties now prevents the hill behind our woodshed and fireplace from further movement down the hill. Not a minor project! Each year we say, “Well that’s done and next year we can take it easy!” Not at all possible. Constant maintenance by Karl Ritz on the rock garden, Herman Peek, George Krug, Jr., Willie Mueller and Ken Cole cutting grass, Bill Goldbach adding significant skill and effort with his work, Walter Hahn for electrical work, and Brian Peek for sound system. Our annual Schlachtfest only succeeds due to leadership of Ernie Mullerschon, George Krug, Sr., and willing members who are allowed into Krugs sausage shop without which this event could not take place. Please understand we could not survive were it not for Dick Peek and Harold Frauenhofer under whose direction the bar flourishes. Where would we be in our kitchen were it not for Elizabeth Ritz and her helpers? How would we ever know the date of our next meeting or the schedule of events if it were not for Rita Schuchardt’s 20 years of service as Secretary.
The list of names could go on and you would find all our members listed but space will not permit this. Let it be said we still hope to set goals for the future members to keep the excellence and togetherness for many years to come. When the efforts of old and new members continue, nothing but continued success can occur.
All this is the result of a dream that has come to bear fruit over the years and we are still hard at work to leave this heritage to those who will follow. Let the results stand as a challenge to those who will carry on when we are gone. Let the spirit of cooperation that has overcome all obstacles continue to be the beacon that will guide us to the even greater and more blessed future.