This is definitely a square dance in the Ag shop at Wy'east in probably about 1954 or 1955.
What caught my eye immediately is the man at the mike, "calling" the square dance. A dear family friend Charlie Powell, who loved square dancing and was the "caller" for the majority of them in the area. When I was a pre-teen there were dances at the Pine Grove Grange every Saturday night during the winter and Charlie's services were always required. He was a field man for Duckwall's as well as being an avid member of the Hood River Saddle Club. Great guy!
I can pick out a few of the "twirlers". On the extreme right corner, the girl in the stripe skirt is Barbara Wright. Right in the middle is Larry Moore dancing with a girl whos last name was Harlan. Can't recall her first name, but she had a sister in my class named Judy. She is in the skirt that looks like it has leaves on it.
The guy in the plaid shirt I think is Glenn Adams and next to him in the hat, might be John, Arlen's brother. Looks somewhat like him...Over at the back wall are three girls sitting. The one in the middle is Yvonne Baker.
I know I would know more, but they are too far away or blurred to be certain.
Charlott on 28th November 2017 @ 7:18am
"And a great time was had by all", square dancing is too near being a lost art, I would like to see more of it at schools and elsewhere ~
Kenn on 28th November 2017 @ 9:03am
Charlott, hard to believe that brother John would have been square dancing.....and by the way, only the "country folk" did this, us "city folk" were slow and close dancers or so we hoped.
Arlen Sheldrake on 28th November 2017 @ 9:21am
Would love a closer look at that guitar setup. Can't tell if it's an amplified archtop, or if he's got a mic in front of it.
Kyle on 28th November 2017 @ 9:37am
Charlott you are a walking encyclopedia of the people in the valley. Thank you so much for sharing knowledge.
nels on 28th November 2017 @ 2:20pm
I believe the balding chap directly behind MARY ELLEN Harlan is our beloved "Pop" Bowman, Agriculture instructor extraordinary. Yvonne Baker is Ivone Baker. And i'm going to suggest that John is really David Kollas. Glenn Adams? I'm not certain, but i'm pretty sure that Carolyn Dillon is the girl with him.
PK on 28th November 2017 @ 4:44pm
For the other guitar folks out there, that *appears* to me to be a 1950-ish Gibson L-7 model archtop.
It was a solid workhorse of a guitar on the bottom rungs of the professional grade instruments, and with a fairly large body, it would make a decent volume for something purely accoustic. None of those instruments were amplified, (piano, fiddle, and any percussion up there) except the "caller" on the microphone, so they would all have been just banging away to try and project through all that space. This was exactly the time (the Fender Broadcaster came out in '50, the Stratocaster in '54) when Leo Fender's guitars and amplifiers were becoming universally adopted, making these archtops relics by 1960. If you weren't plugged in, you couldn't keep up. So this moment is a nice time capsule, on the edge of two very different times.
If you can find a clean Gibson L-7 from back then, they go for between $5,000 and $6,000.
Kyle on 28th November 2017 @ 5:13pm
Lots of knowledge with this photo and Kyle loves music.
I don't know if it is of any help dating the photo, but Alan Winans graduated in 1954.
Some Wy'East history here:
I assume most of the students were from farm and orchard families?
L.E. on 28th November 2017 @ 8:00pm
Arlen, we used to say that close only counts in slow dancing, horseshoes, and hand grenades. But square dancers always looked like they were having fun. Dancing till the cows come home.
Buzz on 29th November 2017 @ 6:11am
As an elementary school kid in suburban Georgia in the 80s, we were taught square dancing one year. So it was still alive then, if barely.
Kyle on 29th November 2017 @ 8:59am
We were taught square dancing at both Park Street and May Street schools. At Park Street, we did the Virginia Reel all the way up and down the corridor on the first floor. "Grand right and left" was the best part, going from arm to arm in a long chain at top speed. I can't remember who taught us that dance. Maybe it was that steely-eyed P.E. teacher Miss Fineberg again, she of the ourtdoor "water dodgeball" rites in the rainy season. I would've rather a thousand times be dosidoing in a warm corridor. At May Street School, Mrs. Maxine Shestak was a real square-dance caller. It wa evident tnat she had taken a course in it or belonged to a club for it..My favorite one she taught us was to the tune of "Oh, Johnny, Oh." I can still hear her hoarse "calling voice" croaking out, "All join hands and circle the ring...Stop where you are and give your honey a swing...Now swing that little gal beside you..." and so on. This was in the mid 1950s, when full skirts were the fashion, and all the "circling round" made our skirts flare out. Everybody ought to have a chance to feel pretty and/or coordinated in junior high, and there for a moment, as we galloped, circled and promenaded, we did.
Barbara Parsons on 14th December 2020 @ 5:37pm
You know who was a great partner for those "swing that little gal" maneuvers? None other than Steve Butterfield, and Class of '58! He had a little bit of "bay window," as polite people would say in those days, and a firm grip, and when he would grab me around the waist and brace me against him, we could whirl like a dust-devil, and I never feared that we would end up in a heap on the dance floor.
Barbara Parsons on 14th December 2020 @ 5:55pm