In the late 1950s, a group of friends and neighbors on Signal Mountain got together to discuss developing a playground and day camp for neighborhood children. That was the first project of what was to become with the help of the Walden Ridge Civic League’s Ladies Club, the Walden Ridge Guild. This charitable and service organization, devoted to promoting the welfare of Walden Ridge residents, has benefited the community ever since.
The members of the Walden Ridge Guild have contributed countless volunteer hours to community events. Through their fundraising efforts, they have contributed more than $35,000 to various community services. One of the Guild’s most important and long-term commitments is helping to improve the Walden Ridge Emergency Service (WRES). In fact, in addition to other things, the Guild raised funds to purchase the “Jaws of Life” rescue device for WRES. Supporting WRES is just one of the ways the Guild has been an integral part of community improvement and growth.
According to Karen Paul Stone, who has held various offices in the Guild and is now membership chairman, “Our projects have contributed greatly to the health and cohesiveness of the community. For many years, members served meals at the polls as a service to poll workers and voters. They were responsible for formation of the first Boy Scout troop in the area and started the nursery/kindergarten at Wayside Presbyterian Church. The Welfare Council sprang from their efforts, as did the Guild Gardeners Club. The Walden Ridge Guild purchased all of the major kitchen appliances and furnished the equipment and utensils for the Walden Town Hall. Currently underway is the renovation of the McCoy kitchen, with Guild membership providing the refrigerator and other items.”
It is in keeping with its history, then, that the Guild will hold its annual picnic at the McCoy Farm and Gardens at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 19. Mrs. Martha McCoy was an active member of the Guild and the picnic has been held in the pavilion on the grounds in the past, as well. Everyone, whether a Guild member or not, is invited to attend the picnic and to participate by bringing a dish to share. Located at 1715 Anderson Pike, the McCoy Farm is a perfect place for a community gathering and celebration.
From making and raffling quilts, promoting and preserving the Connor Toll House, holding auctions, rummage sales, English teas, tours of homes, chili cook-offs and plant expos, the activities of the Guild continue to benefit the mountain. The members regularly take part in activities at Bachman Community Center, and a few years ago, began a new fund-raising project: an annual Christmas ornament featuring historic places on the mountain.
It’s easy to become involved in the Guild. All mountain residents (Walden, Signal Mountain or unincorporated areas) are welcome to join. There are no dues for membership. Meetings are held the third Thursday of the month at 10 a.m. at the Walden Town Hall or at a member’s home. For more information, contact Karen Stone at (423) 886-4568, or Anne Leonard, president, at (423) 886-2117.