Peanut boil brings facelift to Tarentum Community Center

Published 9:12 pm Monday, August 26, 2019

The Tarentum Community Center was a-buzz Saturday morning with the steady flow of people coming to buy home-grown, hot-from-the-pot boiled peanuts and homemade cakes and take a chance on a handmade quilt or just enjoy the fellowship of friends and neighbors.

The occasion was a fundraiser for improvements to the Tarentum Community Center that is the hub of community activities and a polling place for the community.

Community farmers donated the peanuts for the boil. On Friday, they plowed them, picked and cleaned them and put them in the boiling pots. Ladies in the community also put pots of peanuts on the stove to help meet the expected demand.

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And it was all done for the love of the place that is the hub of community activities and for the place where it originated, the Tarentum School. The old school will always be a cherished memory for the many people who were connected to the school.

The storied wood schoolhouse was closed in 1958 and the students were transported to Pike County Elementary School in Brundidge. Citizens of the Tarentum community bought the aging school building from the county with the dream of, one day, replacing it with a modern community center.

Donations were given toward the fulfillment of the dream. Barbecues, cake walks, box suppers and even a womanless wedding were held to raise funds for a modern community center. The dream became a reality in 1972, and, in 1973, quartet singings were started to help with the upkeep and other expenses of the community center.

But time has a way of changing things. Tarentum’s “modern” community center began to show its age. The community members decided it needed a facelift.

And, the community members remembered the request of Mrs. Coley Wilson that, when all the older members of the community were gone, young ones would be charged with keeping the center going.

And, Huey Green said the time had come to do what must be done to keep the center going.

“There were holes in the roof and birds were flying in,” Green said. “The old wood walls only went up so far and then there was just the insulation showing. The whole building was in need of repair.”

Thanks to funding from the Wiregrass Resource Conservation and Development Center and local fundraising efforts, the community center is now a 21st century kind of “modern” community center.

But there is more to do, Green said. The restrooms need renovation and the parking lot needs repairing. So, the fundraising and the fun of coming together as a community will continue.

The Tarentum Community Center is available for rent for $125 a day and the funds raised will be use to continue the renovation of the Tarentum Community Center.