Al Howlett recalls early Stroker Club Houses
There were three club houses over the years.
The East Street Galt Club
I believe the first one was on East St. We rented an old 2 car garage that had a pigeon loft upstairs. The gent we rented it from was always looking over our work to see how we were doing.
The pigeon loft was cleaned out and we used it for club meetings. While the meeting was in progress everyone had to sit still, if you moved around too much the whole building would sway and threaten to collapse. However some work was performed there on members cars. Bob Young was "frenching" the headlamp rims on his Ford. Frank Trevor was welding up the trim holes in his brand new Pontiac convertible.
Next for a very short time we moved to a back yard shed over on Bervely St. This location was not adequate, so a search went out for something better and the old barn at the Delta was located. This served our purpose for many years. At first we only used the rear lower portion of the building. Under the barn portion was an old stable that still smelled of its former occupants. Several years later this was cleaned up and used as working space and a meeting room. Upstairs was a body repair shop operated by a Bill Bowman. After this Jackson appliances used this for storage and many old washing machine parts found their way into the downstairs projects. As Harold Dale has pointed out a wood stove heated the club portion. Andy Marsh who was in tin work offered to build an oil furnace for heating. An old oil burner and tank were obtained and Frank Trevor got some of us into the Sturtevant fabricating shop after hours, were we used the big metal brake to form the parts. These were welded back at the clubhouse. This did not solve the heating problems, as it did not matter where you stood inside you could see outside by way of the joints in the cement blocks. In Stroker fashion bags of cement and sand were obtained and a coat of slurry cement was brushed over the entire outside of the building. A small man door was cut in the large entry door so that the large door was only used for car entry.
Winter also had more problems for the resourceful members to solve. The flat roof collected a lot of snow and this was converted to ice by the heating and cooling of the aforementioned furnace. So several members decided to remove the ice as it was looking like the roof might collapse. Brandishing an axe and shovel they proceeded to remove the ice. This conveniently converted the lower portion into an instant car wash when the thaw came. Well nothing beats learning on the job, so a new roof was installed at club expense by the club members. Over the years all repairs and maintenance to the building were at club expense. Another memory is of the demand electric meter that if you did too much heavy welding the meter could get pushed up on the peg and the bills would go up. Now were have I heard that lately?
At one point the property owner rented out the back yard for the storage of used cars and do I have to tell you what a bonanza that was to the car converters? The clubhouse operated night and day and some nights and days were better than others. But the spouses and girlfriends always knew where to locate us.
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