By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist
Note to reader. The original minutes of this portion of the Town Council’s meeting are a fun read. Special effort was made by the writer to retain as much of the original order of the text as possible. If you feel a little confused, don’t be alarmed.
It was July 13, 1938, barely a year after the Town had cast off its Camp Meeting Association cloak to take on the trappings of a municipality. That evening, the fledgling Town Council–Mayor Irving McCathran, Councilmen Teepe, Felt, Heil, Christie, Billhimer, and Hiller–conducted a “special meeting” to review a long list of concerns.
There was a variety of topics on the agenda. Look at some of them: a new letterhead with the officers’ names; a petition for a new deed for Oak Grove Lodge No.150; a tax levy for the Methodist Parsonage; the location and details of the “Dollar Lots;” the upcoming visit of the Chorus of the Agricultural Department (should they seat them? serve ice cream? pass the collection plate?); the purchase of damask for curtains for the hall; and the conducting of road surveys and hiring engineers.
Perhaps it was this long list that inadvertently stimulated the granting of the Town’s first, fastest and cheapest building permit!
It all happened right in the middle of the meeting. Clerk/Councilman Hiller told the Council that Mr. and Mrs. Carroll C. Ware had called upon him “just before he came to the meeting relative to the reconstruction of the house on the Craig property.” Mr. Hiller had given Mr. Ware the ordinance pertaining to building and reconstruction permits. Probably a little taken off guard with this spur of the moment request, the Council quickly established a Building Committee “with Councilman Christie as Chairman and Mayor McCathran appointed as the other [sic],” and Councilmen Heil, Billheimer, and Teepe as the members of the committee. (That left two–Hiller and Felt–to serve as the Council?) It was voted that the Committee be given “power to act in this case without referring the petition back to the Council, and that the Mayor sign the permit.” (From here on it gets a little hazy.)
The newly appointed Building Committee (aka a large portion of the Council) invited Mr. and Mrs. Ware to come in. The Wares brought a cardboard model of the house plan and explained what they wanted to do.
The minutes continue:“An informal recess was taken while the Building Committee met.” So the Council went into recess (did they recuse themselves?). Then the Committee recommended to the Council (the Council was back in action again) that the “permit requested be granted subject to inspection after completion of the changes.” (At this point, the taker of the minutes probably had trouble deciding which meeting had the floor.) “On motion by Councilman Christie, seconded by Councilman Heil, the recommendation of the Committee was unanimously adopted. (Heil and Christie are at this point presumed to still be part of the Building Committee even though their titles of Councilman are used.) Minutes again: “It was unanimously voted that no charge be made this fiscal year for building permits or the inspection of the building when completed.” This is surely the Council’s action this time, and thus, the discussion on the building permit was concluded.
Then all members of the Council went back to being the Council again, most likely feeling relieved that they finally knew which hat they were wearing and proceeded to discuss the many topics that night. It was indeed a “special” meeting.
More on Mr. and Mrs. Ware’s house in a later issue.