Parker County —
In a way, it’s fitting that the Zion Hill Community Center annual fundraiser includes a home cooked dinner. Being a part of the center is like having an extended family, said one member.
Betty Jackson, who has lived in the Zion Hill community for 31 years, became active with the community center about four years ago when she retired. She attends the monthly meetings where members play games or sit and chat. It’s a lot like having friends over at one’s house, she said.
“I just like meeting friends, visiting with all of them,” Jackson said.
The community center, a building that seats about 85 and is next to the Zion Hill Community Church, was built in the 1950s. But, the history of the community and the center run deep, said community center president Shirley Arnold, just like the connections of a family.
The Zion Hill community itself has a history that dates back to the 1850s. Early settlers created the first westbound road in the northern part of Parker County, and just south of that was Harmison Hill, named after a Union sympathizer by the name of Harmison who had a hideout there during the Civil War. The name was later changed to Zion Hill. Samuel Wolfenberger bought land on the hill nearby and set aside several acres for a school, church and cemetery.
In 1954, the Zion Hill Community Club was founded. The first meetings were held outdoors, then in a family barn, according to history notes in the front of the club’s 2005 cookbook. The first meetings included updates on neighbors crops and livestock, according to the notes.
The Zion Hill Community Center was built in 1956, by men in the community. The women in the community served them hot meals and held fundraisers to support the build.
Hot meals will once again be served at the community center this weekend, but this time it’s to raise money to replenish the center’s fund. Over the summer, the center’s air conditioning unit was stolen, Arnold said.
The turkey dinner fundraiser is an annual event the center uses to help pay for expenses. In the past, money has been used to replace the roof, install the air conditioning and heating unit and buy new tables.
The fundraiser and rental fees — the community center can be used for wedding receptions, family reunions and other gatherings — also help pay for activities. The community center group has about 25 members who meet around 6 p.m. the last Thursday of every month. Members bring covered dishes to share food. They have an activity that starts at 6:30 and usually lasts an hour and a half.
Although many of the members are still residents of Zion Hill, the group is expanding, she said. Anyone who is interested in participating in the community center group can call Arnold at 817-613-0228.