The Gage House: Where Fellowship Takes Priority
Long before The Gage House was officially established, the senior citizens of Hartford, South Dakota would gather at church to take part in fellowship and miscellaneous meetings for the community.
When a local gentleman sold the building in which The Gage House currently resides to the senior citizen group, the town elders now had a place dedicated to their activities.
The Gage House — also known as the Hartford Senior Center — is a model of collaboration for the common good.
In one way, collaboration from the community helps sustain The Gage House’s beneficial activities — providing meals, fun activities, and a place for seniors to gather.
In another way, The Gage House requires collaboration and participation amongst its members. Responsibility is shared, and every effort is completely voluntary.
This exudes the heart of The Gage House: a shared space to share in purpose and fellowship.
Upon entering The Gage House, there are good odds you will run into Lois Kaiser, President of the Hartford Senior Citizens.
Kaiser has been involved with the senior citizen group for over 25 years, and has spent countless hours assisting with the meal program and maintaining a desirable place for friends to gather.
All of her work is done on a voluntary basis, and she does so with a glad heart.
“I like having a place to go where I can visit with friends,” Kaiser expresses. “I can sit for coffee with them or join in on a game of cards. We have a lot of fun together.”
The main effort of The Gage House consists of the meal program, which has been in effect for decades.
Each weekday during the lunch hour, local seniors can visit The Gage House for a great meal prepared by The Goat Bar & Grill in Hartford at an affordable price.
Meals are served at 11:30 a.m. and all orders are placed the day before. Anyone under the age of 60 can also enjoy lunch at The Gage House for a slightly higher fee.
If you are unable to make the visit to The Gage House, volunteers can deliver the meal to your door.
While the meal program is the best-known activity at The Gage House, it is not the only one.
Starting around 7:00 a.m., their doors open to anyone looking for coffee, conversation, and perhaps a nice breakfast.
Hours of Bingo are enjoyed every Thursday evening.
Jigsaw puzzles are always awaiting completion, and cards are played every Saturday afternoon.
All in all, The Gage House is unpretentiously a place to gather, and visitors can always expect good food and good company.
The Gage House has attempted to host other activities, but has found it difficult due to the number of other event centers around.
“We want people to know that we are a great location to host an event, and we are available for rent,” says Kaiser.
The Gage House has seen a number of improvements recently, thanks in large part to the leadership of Ellie Sturdevant and the partnership with AARP South Dakota.
Furnishing the building with new paint, flooring, lights, window coverings, and more is part of their initiative of making The Gage House more attractive to others.
And while this is certainly an admirable undertaking, the truth is that The Gage House is about much more than its physical structure.
In more ways than one, the spirit of Hartford exists here:
That relationships remain a priority, and that life need not be overcomplicated.