Club History

479512319111_0_BG__2_On August 11, 1957 eight couples decided that square dancing was an ideal way to spend an evening of good clean fun. The first hall used for dancing was the Four Oaks Grange on Bailey Hill Road where the club danced for several years. They elected Newton Roark as their first president, and decided that dues would be $1.00 per couple per month and dancing was 50 cents per couple per night. By 1958, membership increased to 14 couples and dues were increased to $2.00 per couple. Lyman Windheim was the first club caller and this group called themselves the Belles and Beaus.

Charter members: Barry and Reitha Bauman, Robert and Etta Dunlap, Alan and Betty Halbrook, Fred and Laura Hawley, Max and Flossie Larkin, Claude and Cleo Simpson, Larry and Marlene Thompson, and Lyman and Ann Windheim.

In October 1959 the club reorganized and a constitution was drawn up and the name was changed to Whirl-A-Ways. The club pin was designed and made by the members of seasoned Rhododendron wood with the club name, member’s name, city and state printed on by wood burning.

Eighteen new couples formed the first class, taught by Lyman Windheim and wife Ann. Lyman stayed with us until September 1963, when he felt he should devote more time to his business. Ivan Koehn came to call for the club at this time.

Several special dances are held throughout the year and a picnic and campout are planned for each summer. Years ago an annual Night Owl Dance was held the fourth Saturday in June, drawing dancers from all the area clubs, with breakfast served at 1:30 a.m. and then more dancing until 3 a.m. or so. The Night Owl dance was discontinued some time in the mid-1970s. In the late 1990s we had many activities including campouts, Pie and Ice Cream Social, Progressive dinner, mystery trip, campouts, and visitations to other clubs.

The Whirl-A-Ways started dancing in a barn owned by the Baumans. We have also danced at Ward Hall on Second Avenue 1963-67, Westmoreland Community Center 1967-80, Gerlinger Hall on the UO campus 1980-82, Santa Clara Grange 1982-2003, and since April 2003 at the Square Dance Center in Springfield. When the club moved from Gerlinger Hall we danced briefly at the Lorane Grange and a building on Olive St. near 13th Avenue. All these places were in the Eugene area.

We are members of the Oregon State Federation of Square and Round Dancers, the Emerald Empire Area Square and Round Dancing Council, and the Emerald Empire Square Dance Center in Springfield.

In November 1992, when the club celebrated its 35th birthday, the Whirl-A-Ways had 120 active members. In September 2000 we had 115 members enjoying the fun, recreation, sociability, and friendship of our club.

In April 2003 the club moved from the Santa Clara Grange to the Emerald Square Dance Center in Springfield.

Ivan Koehn retired as caller in June 2007 after about 44 years of calling for the club. That September we celebrated 50 years of dancing with a special dance in September.

Then in January 2008 we hired Bob Ewing as our caller; he called his first club dance our the Whirl-A-Ways in April 2008. Bob resigned as our caller in June 2013.

Christina Corelli and Sharon Greenman have alternated as our round dance cuers for many years. Sharon retired from cuing in June 2014 and Christina assumed cuing for both of our dances.

The Whirl-A-Ways stopped having club-specific lessons when Ivan retired as our caller. Bob taught lessons when he was our caller but they were not club-specific as the lessons were held in conjunction with the Single Trees. Graduates were encouraged to join one of the clubs in the area rather than being encouraged to join a specific club. Beginning fall 2014 Roger Putzler began teaching lessons for all area clubs, including the Whirl-A-Ways.

We hired Mike Kious as our caller in the summer of 2013; he called his first dance for us in September of that year.

At the beginning of 2014 we have approximately 77 members who are active in dancing and the many other activities that we enjoy as a club. We also have several former members who are no longer dancing, but still occasionally attend club functions.

 Past Presidents

1957  Newton Roark
1958     Max Larkin
1959     Max Larkin
1960     Gene Brown
1961     Gordon Barron
1962     Dick Hickenbottom
1963     Bill Olsen
1964     Matt Mathews
1965     Clyde Joiner
1966     Bob Steinmetz
1967     Unknown
1968     Ben Ramey
1969     Dick Davis
1970     Clyde Henager
1971     Betty Speck
1972     Harold Bender
1973     Floyd Bard
1974     Everett Blais
1975     Keith Possman
1976     Sherm Nordquist
1977     Kelly Nobles
1978     Fred Beisse
1979     Jerry High
1980     Elaine Nordquist
1981     Scott Stefasen
1982     Scott Stefasen
1983     Ron Shirmer
1984     Jill Bard
1985     Denny Alldredge
1986     Don Koons
1987     Marv Baker
1988     Bill Mosier
1989     Bill Mosier
1990     Harry Bonham
1991     Leo Weninger
1992     Harry Bonham
1993     Hugh Womack
1994     Larry Reetz
1995     Floyd Bard
1996     Floyd Bard
1997     Don Westphall
1998     Don Westphall
1999     Gary Smith
2000     Gary Smith
2001     Ron Lown
2002     Ron Lown
2003     Todd Jensen
2004     Ron Lown
2005     Gary Smith
2006     Gary Smith
2007     Larry Reetz
2008     Gary Smith
2009     Tom Johnson
2010     Tom Johnson
2011     Ken Cornelius
2012     Paul Cunningham
2013     Paul Cunningham
2014     Paul Cunningham
2015     Larry Reetz
2016     Larry Reetz
2017     Paul Cunningham