Former Arensdale students entertain Shriners at 60th anniversary of local club
In celebrating the Colorado Springs Shrine Club's 1948 purchase of the former Arensdale School June 27, a highlight was featuring three local residents who had
attended the school long before that occasion.
The three (Crystal Rhodes, Maloa Read and Gene Current) were the special guests of the club, along with City Council Vice Mayor Larry Small.
The school at 6 S. 33rd St., which has been expanded by the Shriners several times over the years, was originally built in 1910.
During a short speech, Rhodes, who has lived across the street on Pikes Peak Avenue all her life, commented that back in 1948, “People told us, 'You don't want the Shriners in there. They have loud dances and parties.” After the laughter died down,” she added with a smile, “You have turned out to be the nicest people we could have.”
In his comments, Small observed that a former school building “is certainly an appropriate place for the Shriners” - alluding to the club's longstanding efforts to aid children with health needs. (According to a Shrine estimate, more than 800,000 children have been treated, at no charge, in the international club's 22 hospitals since the first one opened in 1922.)
Overall, an estimated 176 people signed in for the event June 27. These included “about 15 people from the neighborhood,” according to Shrine Club secretary Ralph “Doc” Hathaway. Those who stayed the entire three-plus hours also enjoyed a commemorative ribbon-cutting in front of the building; a dinner; and music from the Al Kaly band, Bill Emery's sextet and an element of the club Pipe and Drum Corps.
Gene Current spoke for his sister, Maloa Read. They and three other siblings had attended the school, which closed in 1931. He recalled playing football Sundays on the school grounds.
Maloa has written a limerick, titled “To Shriners”:
If you know of a man who's a Shriner
There's apt to be none who is finer.
For the good that they do,
Help for illnesses too,
To others this is a reminder.
Westside Pioneer article