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.

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 2018 we have approximately 90 members. Most are active in dancing and take part in many other activities we enjoy as a club. We 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
2018    Paul Cunningham
2019    Michael Burt