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100 Years Improving


Sam Grenell first laid out lots for summer cottages on Grenell Island in 1879. By the turn of the century there were over 70 cottages on the island. After the death of Sam Grenell in 1910, islanders decided to form an organization for the improvement of the island.

Through the last century, the GIIA has dug wells, installed sidewalks and brought both electricity and telephone service to the island. Currently, GIIA maintains the Grenell Island Community House and organizes social events to promote island unity.

The last weekend of July, The Grenell Island Improvement Association (GIIA) celebrated its 100th Anniversary. The three-day celebration started on Friday night with a cocktail party honoring our past-presidents at Kirmess. At the brainstorming meeting way back in 2010, Kim Kempton, the current owner of Kirmess had offered her cottage and it’s lovely grounds as the setting of the party. Most events utilize the Community House, but Kim offered her place so the kids of the island could have a separate function at the Community House, while their parents attended the cocktail party.

As I began doing research about GIIA, I was amazed how serendipitous our decision to have the party at Kirmess had been. I discovered the first president of the GIIA had been Thomas B. Kerr, the owner of Kirmess in 1912. Secondly, the first organizational meeting for GIIA had been at Kirmess…right on that lovely porch. It was the perfect place to both celebrate our 100th anniversary and honor our past-presidents.

 

To read more about the Community Island Improvement Association see Grenell Island Community House.

By Lynn E. McElfresh

Lynn McElfresh is a regular contributor to TI Life, writing stories dealing with her favorite Grenell Island and island life. We have learned a great deal over the years from Lynn McElfresh’s musings, from moving pianos to island weddings or from plumbing problems to meeting old friends, taking nature walks and the importance of trees. Lynn’s major project this year was compiling the history of Grenell for its 100th Birthday.  This is the story that captures this celebration.   Click here to see all of Lynn’s contributions! 

 

  • Host, Scott Kempton, opens a bottle of Chevalier de Grenelle. Photo Lynn McElfresh Collection

    Host, Scott Kempton, opens a bottle of Chevalier de Grenelle. Photo Lynn McElfresh Collection

  • GIIA members toast the past-presidents and the future of GIIA. Photo Mike Morley Collection

    GIIA members toast the past-presidents and the future of GIIA. Photo Mike Morley Collection

  • Meanwhile, the youth of the island were having a party of their own at the Community House.

    Meanwhile, the youth of the island were having a party of their own at the Community House.

  • The last weekend for Grenell Aglow.  Photo Mike Morley Collection

    The last weekend for Grenell Aglow. Photo Mike Morley Collection

  • Festivities included a Grenell Island Antique & Classic Boat Parade. Photo Lucas Family Collection

    Festivities included a Grenell Island Antique & Classic Boat Parade. Photo Lucas Family Collection

  • An “Enhanced” Picnic---all the usual fare plus a few special treats. Photo Mike Morley Collection

    An “Enhanced” Picnic---all the usual fare plus a few special treats. Photo Mike Morley Collection

  • The gracious hosts and current owners of Kirmess, Kim and Scott Kempton. Photo Lynn McElfresh

    The gracious hosts and current owners of Kirmess, Kim and Scott Kempton. Photo Lynn McElfresh

  • Current GIIA president, Gary McElfresh, addressed guests.

    Current GIIA president, Gary McElfresh, addressed guests.

 

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Comments

Ronald Ring
Comment by: Ronald Ring ( )
Left at: 10:23 PM Wednesday, August 15, 2012
My father John edwin Ring was a quest minister for many years in the chapel on Grenall Island. He would get in his little fishing boat from T.I. park and dock it on the Kerr boat house.As a ten year old son, I would go with my father and it would be my job to ring the bell at the chapel to let the people on the island know it was time for church services. I have fond memories of the wonderful island and I will never forget the high back wicker chairs we sat in and listen to my dad give his sermon.If I remember correctly he was paid $25.00 and he always thought that was way too much to be paid in the 1950"s...I do believe he had a few weddings there too. Best to all present and past friends of the wonderful Island and to the Chalk family of fishers landing who brought us to the island in the early 50"s on the "thats her" boat!

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