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It’s almost been a hundred years since the Fabius Community House came into being, but its long-time mission is still going strong.
The original structure, built in 1921 and 1922, has been modified at various times, but fellowship and keeping the rural community strong in the Smileyville area between Taylor and Palmyra continues to be its focus.
Those living outside of the community know it as the site of the annual fall turkey dinner and auction and the spring hog roast fundraisers, but the community house has hosted many more events over the years ranging from indoor chattauquas to plays, sporting events and even concerts by the community orchestra.
The origin of the community house can be traced back to Oct. 8, 1921 when a majority of people attending a meeting at Harry Carson’s Store in Smileyville voiced their favor for building a community house.
The support for raising funding for the project was so strong that work began to erect the structure on Dec. 6, and in just a few days, 24 teams of horses hauled gravel, cement, lumber and more to the site and a cellar was dug.
The original 50 feet by 32 feet structure was built by local volunteer labor with 40 to 50 farmers and their sons working day after day to finish it by the early part of the next year.
Thanks to donated materials and labor, as well as a large community sale and dinner which raised over $650 along with other donations, only one loan of $2,500 was needed from the Marion County Savings Bank to fund the building.
That debt was retired in 1937 when the annual Fabius Community sale provided the final funding needed to go debt free.
Reports of the total cost of the building vary from $7,000 to $10,000, according to differing sources.
The community house has always been overseen by an elected board of trustees starting with H.S. Gillespie, James F. Reber, Will Hoehne, O.W. Ping and Frank L. Keller.
The current board includes: Curtis Robbins, president; Mark Kroeger, vice president; Tyler Stuhlman, secretary; Bill Goellner, treasurer; Steve Lehenbauer, member; and David Porter, member.
The constitution of the community house stated the building was to be used, free of charge, for social and educational purposes, and it is currently available for rental for events.
The Fabius 4-H Club meets at the Community House on a monthly basis, and the club does its part to help with upkeep and even helped in building an outside pavilion for picnic tables.
Two Eagle Scout projects focused on improvements to the community house grounds including the installation of a fire-pit and a half basketball court
Plans are underway for several events next year to mark the 100 year dedication of the Fabius Community House.
Editor’s note: much of the information for this article comes from the research of Ellen Stuhlman, who has posted a treasure trove of information and photos about the Fabius Community House on the Heritage Seeker’s website and can be found through this link: https://sites.google.com/view/palmyra-mo-heritage-seekers/fabius-community-house