Gateway: Living

Slater: KP Historical Society officially takes over Vaughn Library Hall

Last night the Key Peninsula Historic Society and friends gathered at El Sombrero for dinner and to celebrate transfer of the Vaughn Library Hall from Donna and Gary Docken to KPHS.

Donna’s great grandfather, Alfred Van Slyke, owned the original piece of property where the young men set up a dance floor decorated with greenery and called the Bowery Dance Floor for a Fourth of July celebration in 1889. They danced all night to “fiddlin’ music.”

In 1892, a group of pioneer women in Vaughn organized the Vaughn Library Association and collected books to be shared in the growing community. A historical side note is that G. H. Bassett and some other men had organized a Horticulture Society, open only to men. The women, including Mrs. Bassett and Cornelia Hall, developed the Library Association, open to women. Men could not serve as officers, but only trustees. The women met on nights of a full moon for ease of travel.

The small cupboard in the store with their shared books was inadequate, and they set their sights on a community hall with space for an expanding library. Thus the first Library Hall on the peninsula came into being on the bowery dance floor.

There is much work to be done to clean up and restore it as much as possible to the former hall design. Members and friends are signing up to help in a variety of ways, and anyone interested can contact the society at 253-888-3246, or mail to 17010 S. Vaughn Rd, Vaughn, WA 98394.

Any pictures of the interior when it was a hall, would be appreciated, as well as stories of events you may have attended there.

And now on to upcoming fall events.

This is your last weekend to visit the Haunted Forest at 17616 South Vaughn Road. Open from 6:30 to 11 p.m., rave reviews are coming in. One suggests it’s too scary for those age 10 and younger. Screams from the visitors are common.

November begins the holiday season, with special activities and events added to the calendar.

The ninth annual Winter Warm-up Craft Fair and Chili competition takes place at the KP Civic Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 12. Sixty tables have been reserved for sale items, with no spaces left, but a marvelous array of gift items will be available. Lunch or snack items from the kitchen can be purchased.

Interested chili competitors are urged to sign up at, stop by the office or call 253-884-3456 for more information. Cash, certificate and public recognition are awarded to the top three winners. A fee is required for entry. Entries must be registered by Nov. 7.

The KP Historic Society hosts an Open House in the museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day.

Be our guest as we remember Thanksgiving and harvest time celebrations by early settlers. Children’s activities include carding wool and writing with a quill pen and ink. A variety of books and other gift items are available for sale. For more info, call 253-888-3246.

The KP Lutheran Church Christmas Bazaar on Nov. 19 is another wonderful place to find handcrafted items, everything from baked goods, preserves and a multitude of warm clothing to holiday decorations.

New this year is a Celebration of Trees, with a dozen or more artificial Christmas trees decorated to be auctioned by various nonprofit organizations on the Key Peninsula. The actual auction will take place Dec. 3, but the trees and wreaths will be on display until then, with silent bidding opportunity. Each organization keeps its proceeds or donates it to a charity of choice.