The Organizations of Brunswick
The social and civic life of a community is one of its more important factors. When Brunswick was first settled there were very few opportunities for social contact - the life of a pioneer was too demanding.
But as the community became established, interaction among its residents was more prevalent.
Churches began to play an important role in that interaction as residents first met in homes and later in buildings which they constructed for worship.
The fist mention found in local histories about other kinds of groups wasn't of a roaringly successful nature. The Sons of Temperance organized a lodge in Brunswick in 1854. But after a few years, it was disbanded. Of course, there were always the stories about drinking - it seems there were no public saloons in Brunswick, but the road to Valley City, where there were several taverns, was well worn by those who wished to imbibe.
Once this farming community began to thrive, an agricultural fair was held each October. The first was held in 1858 and there were more than 200 kinds of exhibits which local folk entered. A little later, the Farmers Institute met on a regular basis each winter. It lasted for two days and was in the town hall. There were speakers on agricultural subjects and local entertainment.
In the 1830's, the brothers Cornelius and Moses Sherman built a stately brick home at West 130th Street and Rout 303. It was on a farm known as "Oliver's Landing," and served as a popular meeting place of the "select" people of the era during the middle of the 19th century. In fact, a few rumors have been heard that seances were regularly held at the home.
Before 1875, Home Lodge 214 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was formed.
In 1912, meeting rooms for the organization were moved to the upstairs of the new building at Routes 303 and 42 on the southeast corner. In the 1970's a building was built on Pearl Road near Grafton but the organization became dormant and members now meet with the Medina Lodge. The women's organization, the Rebekah Lodge, was formed in 1919.
The Brunswick Grange was organized in 1890. About that same time, entertainment including dances, spinning bees, corn huskings, and community plays were very popular. The ladies of the town starred in such stellar productions as "13 Old Maids." The Brunswick town bands - both a men's and women's group - were favorites. The bands played in a shell at the circle in the center of town and in parades. Yearly "old settler reunions: would see hundreds of people in attendance.
The town grew slowly from then until the 1950s. In those years the first 4-H club was founded with Margie Ridiker as the leader; the Chamber of Commerce was begun in 1931; the fire department organization formed in 1940; the Richard Devenport Post 234 of the American Legion was chartered in 1944 as well as its ladies' auxiliary. Also, in 1943, when all school grades were in one building, a PTA was formed. The Brunswick Garden Club activated on October 18, 1944, and the first Boy Scout Troop, 517, was chartered on February 5, 1945. During the same period, a Fellowcraft Club was active but no date was found on its founding or demise.
Then came the big influx of people and with it more opportunities for all age groups to participate.
The Junior League of the IOOF was founded in 1951 and members were later treated to tours of Washington, D.C. and New York. The Republican Women's Club was activated in 1954 and sports got a big boost when Little Leagues was formed in the summer of 1955. Babe Ruth followed in 1958 as did Girl Scouting here.
Teens of the community found haven with the Brunswick Youth Club formed by Howard Goodyear in June 1957. It first met for dances upstairs at the town hall and later at Goodyear's Big Barn. The Jaycees were chartered on April 17, 1957.
The Brunswick Lions Club, Business and Professional Women's Club and Democrat Club were all formed in 1958. That year, the Theta Rho Chapter of Rebekahs was founded for high school girls and that same year the Northern Medina County Republican Club came into existence.
In 1959 the Brunswick Hills Fire Sirens were formed and the Knights of Columbus Chapter was founded here.
Friends of the Brunswick Library was incorporated in January, 1960. Both the VFW Post 9520 and its auxiliary were founded in 1961 and the ladies' auxiliary of the city fire department was formed as well. The Colony Park Homeowners Association began that summer and the United Appeal of Northern Medina County got its go-ahead in May, 1961.
The Brunswick Kiwanis Club was founded in December 1963.
Among the favorite pastimes of girls were a number of baton twirling units. In 1960, the USTA championships were held at the high school and Judy Thiel of Brunswick took two top titles. Becky Graff of Brunswick won a twirling and flag baton award. The Brunswick Hornettes were official sponsors of the contest.
Also in the 1960s the Brunswick Minstrel Show, predecessor of the Brunswick Entertainment Company, was begun. In 1960, William Eyssen was director. Interlocutor was Lou Visintainer with end men Edward Skinner, Chuck Dennison, Joe Cain and John Kokensparger. Among the singers and actors were Harold White (superintendent of the county schools), Jane Berlo, B.J. Fuller, Frank Gibson, George Vehlber, Marge Crossen, Robert Vokes, Myron Chidsey, Carol and Jack Lizotte, Don Lehman, Ann Skinner, Marjorie Raymer and Lee Marra. The event was sponsored by the PTAs.
In 1961 there was just one 4-H club for girls meeting for the first time, founded by Virginia Hamm. Now there are dozens of them for all kinds of interests.
In the past few years, a Rotary Club and Optimists Club have also been chartered in Brunswick.
The schools have also provided a wide variety of club activities for young people in the community, all helping to make Brunswick a fine place to live.