Community Council


At a community picnic on August 22, 1935, J. Robert Crouse, Sr. suggested forming a Community Council in Hartland. "Such a council would consist in general of those who are actively connected with various organizations. The function of the Community Council would be to meet when there are important matters of community policy to consider. Such a Community Council could not and would not wish to bind any organization to a specific course of action but rather supply a many sided judgment on such subjects for useful, helpful guidance and formation of enlightened public opinion. Such a Community Council could represent the Hartland Consolidated Schools to the Hartland Area as a whole depending on the nature of the subject for consideration. It is believed that such an organization would tend toward unity of purpose, plan and action in the development of the Hartland Area Project and the community in general".

From this concept came one of the finest examples of cooperation in the community. After surveying the community for an adequate place for recreation, a plan for a new building was inaugurated. In 1937 the Hartland Area Recreation Cooperative was formed and shares of stock were sold at a price of $10 each. Mr. J. Robert Crouse, Sr. agreed to match the purchase of the shares on a 2 to 1 basis for an amount up to $10,000.

The building of the "Rec" Hall was truly a cooperative effort. A large portion of the excavation and building was done by volunteer labor. The recreation center opened in September 1938. Through the years it was used as a site for basketball games, roller-skating, community parties, Boy Scout meetings and as a cafeteria for hot lunches for Hartland students.

In 1975 the Hartland Area Recreation Board of Directors held their last meeting to dissolve the corporation due to declining interest in roller-skating and increased interest in school athletics. The Board voted to give the land, building and equipment to the Hartland Consolidated School for administrative and community use. In 1976 the building was remodeled and it became the administrative offices of the Hartland Consolidated Schools and home to the Hartland Senior Citizens'; nutrition and recreation center. The building was renamed the J. Robert Crouse Building in honor of the man who contributed to its original construction.