The crossroads of Highway 83 with Swan and Echo Lake Roads forms a small, fairly transient, Echo-Swan community. During the winter, the corner bustles at 8 Am and 3 PM when parents and kids converge on and depart from the Swan River School. Summertime sees cars scrambling for parking at the Echo Lake Café, and the Echo Lake store sees a parade of vehicles grabbing a snack or drink on the way to work or play.
That leaves one corner, the Swan River Community Hall. The hall plays host to fundraisers, meetings, sales, and services, but for a while it sat damaged.
Recently the Community Hall board had reason to celebrate: with the help of Bigfork attorney Randy Snyder, a survey of the property was completed.
“This was so important!” says board secretary Charlotte French, “The Hall belongs to the community, I don’t imagine there are many other such properties in the country, and no one can ever take it away for condos or strip malls!”
French, along with Annie Guerrant,Sue Hanson, Gary and Cheryl Ridderhoff, Dave and Linda Russell, Bill and Linda Stewart, and Bob Young make up the community hall board.
In 1999 a new Swan River Community Hall Board formed to make the Hall back into a community center. French says the idea for a community hall came up in 1916 when local Rod and Gun Club members started looking to create a meeting place. They searched out an acre. By 1933 the hall as a Community Center became a reality.
Interest dwindled with the advent of radio, television and better transportation. After a fire in 1976 the board almost didn’t follow through with refurbishment. A new board in 1999 kicked the center back into gear. It’s now used for weddings, sales, meetings and various family and community events.
The board meets 4 times a year, the next meeting is July 14th at 7PM in the Swan River Community Hall.
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