One family’s gift to the Historical Society equals one spiffed-up, shinier Meeting House for the entire community.
It had been a long time since anyone cleaned the siding of Fluvanna’s Meeting House. Being so close to the trees in Fluvanna Park and a stone’s throw up the hill from Chautauqua Lake, a couple years’ worth of pollen, dirt and cobwebs will definitely dim the bright white clapboard siding of this 200-year-old landmark. This is exactly what Greg and Marlene Hooper noticed when they showed-up to participate at the Fluvanna Community Historical Society’s (FCHS) re-creation of the oldest known photograph of our historic Meeting House (btw: the photographer finished touching-up, ‘photoshopping’ and ‘melding’ together of the old and new photos which we’ll feature in our next newsletter and future posts!). Greg and Marlene live in the #Elmhurst section of Fluvanna and pass by the Meeting House everyday, but seeing up close how much residue built up on the exterior over these past few years, the Hoopers wanted everyone to see the gleaming white facade they knew was underneath the grim. After a brief discussion with the Historical Society, Greg and Marlene hired a professional #cleaner to get the job done.
The Hooper Family’s Deep Roots in Fluvanna:
Greg and Marlene are no strangers or recent émigrés to Fluvanna. Greg’s side of the family settled in our community well over 100 years ago. Whether the church, fire department, school, towns of #Ellicott or #Ellery, veteran’s organizations or you name it, the Haskins, Hoopers, Lords and other ancestors of Greg have been involved in all aspects of the community. Greg's family owned the Hooper Dairy Farm which stretched all the way from Townline Road to the Lake. Around the Second World War, the family sold the farm. With the proceeds the Hoopers bought Ramsey's, a beloved restaurant, just on the outskirts of Greenhurst, next to Dutch Hollow Creek, known afterwards as the Chatterbox. Greg's grandfather, Ed Hooper Sr., was one of the owners of the #farm, Ramsey's and a founding member of the Fluvanna Fire Department. Born and reared in Fluvanna, Greg attended the schools in the district and worked at the restaurant. Eddy (i.e., Ed Hooper Jr.) and Marilyn, Greg’s parents, served as hosts. Greg was the head cook and ran the kitchen. Their pies were delicious, Greg’s prime rib and stuffed porkchops were, without fail, cooked to perfection and famous throughout this part of #Chautauqua County. People throughout the community regularly gathered, dined or worked at the restaurant (including a certain #dishwasher whose salads were also noted as culinary achievements)! The Hoopers sold the restaurant in the mid-1990s, and Eddy passed away in 2002, but Greg and Marilyn remained where their family’s roots have been for the past century. Marilyn now lives at Heritage Green (where Greg visits her nearly everyday). Greg continues to make his home in Fluvanna with his wife, Marlene, and has now lived his entire life within earshot of the bells of Fluvanna’s Church.
Marlene Hooper, née Oste
Marlene is no newcomer to our community either. As with Greg's family, Marlene, her relatives and ancestors were involved in all sorts of businesses and institutions in Fluvanna and the wider area, including the Fire Department, the Church's Ladies Aid, town government etc. The honorable Gordie Oste, Marlene's father, served for over 30 years as the Town of Ellery's Justice of the Peace. Born in Fluvanna, in the house now owned by the Abrahamsons, Gordie grew up on Bentley Avenue with his parents, sister and four brothers. He was confirmed at the Church. Marlene's aunt, Joann Oste, still lives on Bentley Avenue.
Marlene was born and reared in Ellery Center. She attended school at Fluvanna until the 7th grade when the older grade levels were transferred to the Bemus Point High School (that building, in Bemus, has since been converted into residential units for senior citizens now known as Sunnyside Manor Apartments). Marlene's family owned and operated the Bemus Point Hardware Store, on Alburtus Avenue, currently named the Musky Mall, where there are a variety of shops, including a pottery, and an apartment. In addition to serving as the Town's justice, Marlene's father worked as a plumber and, along with her maternal uncle, Lester Cederquist, co-owned the City View Dairy. This establishment, just outside of Jamestown on the outskirts of Fluvanna (where Eagle ZIP.com is currently located), produced cottage cheese, #milk and other #dairy products. They would deliver the milk in glass bottles to households throughout the area and served delicious ice cream and other snacks at the storefront in Fluvanna.
Marlene and Greg met first while in High School, although they did not know each other well. Marlene graduated in1973 from Maple Grove, where Greg also graduated a year later. They met again and married after Greg’s first wife, Susan "Susie" Jones (a long term member of Fluvanna Church) and Marlene's first husband, Jeff Sanders, passed away all too soon.
A Deep Cleaning for the Old Meeting House:
Shortly after the Photo Re-creation took place, Greg and Marlene asked the owner of Lakeside Wash/Power Cleaning, John Martin, to remove the residue from the exterior of the building. It wasn’t the easiest of jobs. Although the Meeting House appears quaint and charming, up close and personal, the building is larger and more imposing than it may initially appear at first sight. The #steeple rises to over 50 feet. But, John used to live in the area in the early 2000s and attended youth group at the old Meeting House when the building served as the community’s Youth Center, so he took on the project enthusiastically. The Hoopers asked John to power wash the #vinyl siding, concrete stairs, basement walls and sidewalks, and the front porch, as well as the Cemetery's maintenance shed.
It took a lot of time and water pressure to #clean the entire building’s facade. Not quite as bad as the following gif, but the picture may give you an idea of how much effort had to go into this project:
Nevertheless, John completed the work without incident. Well over 1,300 gallons later and a lot of hard work, and the results of John's labor can be clearly enjoyed for everyone to see:
Numerous people contacted us or commented in passing about how clean, bright and luminous the Meeting House looked after the the project was completed. Although they didn't notice the build-up in the past couple of years, once John finished the here’s there was no mistaking how much grim had been removed (as can be seen in these photographs taken before John completed the power washing):
Our Appreciation and How You Can Do Your Part:
We couldn’t summarize things better than how Greg himself put it right after the Community Photo Re-Creation this past June:
“I have lived all my life within a mile of the Church and the 'new' Meeting House, and I realized [today] just how much I love it here with all the heritage of The Hooper family from the past 100 years!”
We appreciate the Hoopers’ contribution to FCHS and to the entire community. We’re especially proud to welcome Greg and Marlene as two of our newest board members.
You can do your part, serve the entire community and save our historic Meeting House too. Volunteer, become a Historical Society member or donate today. To find out more about our mission and our vision for Fluvanna’s historic Meeting House, the Fluvanna Park and our entire community, visit our website online (Fluvanna’s Virtual Meeting House) at https://FluvannaHistory.com.
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