Cottonwood to celebrate 150th year in 2012, area history included
(History continued from last week)
Because the last article seemed to stir up so many memories for so many people I think we need to fill in a few spots and maybe punch a few more memories this week, mainly because music has been a real big thing in this area.
In about 1900 many of the gatherings used music to act as a bonding agent and as a way of collecting public support and believe me it did. Singing together with seldom seen neighbors was a definite way to reach out and share part of your life and made problems, in personal or community at least, seem smaller.
So many feelings and emotions have been put to music and the people involved always knew which songs to sing. I remember my sister asking Dad, “Why do you get tears in your eyes when you sing? Music is supposed to make you happy.” We waited a long time for the answer but mainly it was, “You’ll understand better when you grow up.” I’ve used this quite a few times myself. That is “grow up and understand.” Sometimes it works and sometimes not!
Do you remember some of the early songs of your childhood? Both those from home and school? How about the music of your church? Seems like all the grade school classrooms had a piano or organ and music was learned right along with the day’s studies. Special programs always incorporated music in with the play or other readings and speeches.
Whether you went to school in Greencreek, Cottonwood, Ferdinand or Keuterville, music was part of your education and later, always part of your life. And in church the music was always part of worship. Starting in grade school with a special program and then in high school with winter and spring concerts. This was all part of our lives.
Later on we had special groups, either formed within a family, like Nick Schaffs, Lawrence Schmidts, Magers, Dumans, Jenny’s Band, Joe Stubbers (strictly by ear) and Hattrups. Then we danced for many years to the Modernaires, Tick Tock Swingsters, Pethtols Ban (from Kamiah), Gerry Isslers Band, Velvet & Richie – man or man those were the days. All were especially good and some nights even better! Every occasion or party, it just took one of the local piano players to sit down and pound out the beat to get everyone singing and dancing! In the early years there was always a dance to go to – Keuterville, Mt. Idaho, Winchester, Cottonwood, Greencreek or Ferdinand – mostly after WWI before TV. I asked on of the local girls who was a good dancer what happened that she ended up in the convent. The answer was pretty simple, “I needed the rest!”
Later on, as TV flashed in most living rooms, more and more people regretted the change in our lifestyle and for awhile at least, card playing and study clubs and other social groups were revived and social contact was back in style. Many organizations kind of died out as times changed and new social clubs rose up to take their place.
The Lions Club came on after WWII and soon boasted 50 to 60 members and through great leadership spearheaded the building of ballfields and the community hall as well as supporting local programs to encourage health and welfare practices. They also helped with many local improvements in the local communities.
With the rebuilding of community centers in the area there were more dinners and other gathering type programs which then improved the church or other meeting places. Many young peoples groups were formed and sponsored in the local area by one of the older organizations. Through all this with good foresight and management our new hospital was built and expanded to cover other towns in central Idaho. What a great institution! Each and every one of us has been blessed with the services of the people who run and maintain their programs of excellence. Their good care and their level of care has been great. Any area in these United States would be proud to boast of them and it is great to know these doctors chose St. Mary’s Hospital as a place to live and work. Another great thing to be especially proud of!
I like to think that many of the good things that have developed here were not by just accident. This didn’t just come on by itself. Foresight and planning on the part of the Sisters at the convent in conjunction with local civic leaders set the stage for some of the great things we now have. I sincerely hope, as we change leaders, this past set of values will guide us in the future.
Many of us who have chosen to live and raise our family here have a special friend, or even a relative who has joined the convent. Sister Augustine Uhlenkott, a mentor to many.We have come to know, love and respect these remarkable women who have accomplished some great things. I was very lucky to have Sister Augustine “Eltsie” Uhlenkott as a teacher and friend for lo these many years. I take great pride in the many things she has done. As a hard dedicated worker as teacher and later on as elected “Mother” she was loved and respected by almost everyone. She served as their leader through some very great expansion both at the convent and the schools and hospitals. We are very lucky to have had her amazing leadership to bring some big changes to our town and state. Not only us, but generations to come will be advantaged by these projects. I certainly believe that these things are true and apply to many of the women who served in the Order of Saint Benedict!
This is as good a time as any to thank the Convent for the many teachers and nurses who have served throughout this area and truly left their mark on our lives.
To wrap up this walk down memory lane I think we should also mention some of the long time members, as well as those now serving, in our health care system. Like teachers, these people play a big role in our lives. As of now there are still many of us who remember Dr. W.F. Orr and later on Dr. R.E. Orr who really played a big part in our health care. Going way back, I personally only remember stories of Doc Turner, M.D. and Doctor Blake who served the horse and buggy days throughout the area. We had a number of doctors come and go in the transition of moving from the old hospital to the new. Dr. George Imhoff showed up at this time, married Mitzi and they raised their family in Ferdinand. (George was an avid poker fan and we played on a regular basis for many years).
Many doctors came through a recruitment program as the hospital grew and expanded. We were more than willing to move over and share our great central Idaho with these new families and the ones we have are good neighbors and friends. Among them are Andy Jones, Ron Sigler, Teel Bruner, Jack Secrest and wife Haley Minnehan and more recently Dr. Farnworth, Dr. Ostrander, Dr. Atkinson, Peg Gehring and Megan Wilson. What a group and we are glad to have you here! Already these people have won many awards in their various skills. Like all people here “to know them is to love them.” And we love our hospital! And our clinic! (Not just the buildings).
Thus some of the things that make our area what it is: Our civic leaders, our teachers, our churches, our school, our hospital, our organizations, our business community and all the people who make up these groups. Teach this oneness in your schools and this baloney of “whatever I do, I do alone” will give way to “we are all in this together” and mutual love and respect will grow and flourish. (Whew! I almost feel like I should do a knee-bow!)
Deb Clark and her helpers are working on layout for our book. So many bases to touch. Many of the pictures we have received are too poor quality to reproduce. I assure you we’ll to the best we can to make this record for our history. Time and patience young man-steady as it goes!
The next meeting of the 150-year committee has been pushed back to Thursday, April 26 at the library due to a conflict on the 19th.

The medical hub of the area, St. Mary’s Hospital. Taken Tuesday morning.

The Monastery of St. Gertrude.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
Fax 208-962-7131
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