Osborne County Historical Marker
Many Czech families, known locally as Bohemians, settled in the late 19th Century in the area of southwest Smith, northeast Rooks and northwest Osborne Counties.
Interest soon developed to establish a Czech fraternal organization to strengthen the community both economically and culturally.
Local leaders met on May 1, 1916 with a lodge member from nearby Zurich, Kansas to organize the new Western View Lodge #246.
Nineteen people were recorded as charter members.
The first meetings were held in the Buffalo Ridge Schoolhouse in southwest Smith County.
Meetings were held monthly except in July because of wheat harvest or if snowed during a winter month.
The women took turns furnishing refreshments for each meeting. The Bohemians were well known for kolaches and good food. Visitors other Lodges often came to visit the Sunday afternoon meetings.
In 1934 the Plainville-Zurich Lodge in southern Rooks County closed and requested to join the Western View Lodge.
They also offered as part of the request their own 1890s building.
The Western View Lodge agreed to the request, and the lodge building was relocated to land Joseph Rehor gave them to the east of Buffalo Ridge School.
At the December 1934 meeting it was agreed to get a license to hold dances and a lunch committee for the dances was named.
In March 1935
the Lodge voted to pour a cement slab in front of the hall and in June an addition for a kitchen, entry hall and coatroom was built over the slab
A kitchen license, utensils, a large coffee pot and a new gas lamp were purchased.
In 1936 a stage was built on to the south end of the Hall and the exterior was finished in 1937. The basement under the stage was completed in 1938.
A light plant was bought for lights in 1939 and put to good use until rural electricity arrived in 1952.
That same year a new heating system was installed and around 1960 a new floor laid.
Many well-known and popular Czech and Polka bands of the time played for the dances.
Other events held at the Hall included wedding dances, township elections and benefits for families.
Western View Lodge donated money to Smith and Philips County Hospitals and to the Osborne and Rooks County Health Units.
Money was raised for the March-of-dimes to be given to the four area counties (Phillips County included) and a polio fund dance was held.
Several decades passed, and as the rural population dwindled the old Bohemian Hall in Smith County was no longer being used.
The Bull City Community Foundation (or BCCF), officially organized on January 29, 2001, and was established to strengthen the community of Alton economically and culturally. That same year the Bohemian Hall was offered to the
Bull City Community Foundation to be moved into Osborne County to the city of Alton for use as a community center and restaurant.
On March 23, 2001, the historic Bohemian Hall was officially signed over to BCCF.
Dedicated BCCF members raised funds, moved the building to Alton, set it over A full basement, gave it a new life with updates, restrooms, a kitchen addition and other improvements.
It became the Bohemian Cultural Center and remains a significant part of daily life in Alton as a restaurant and a location for dinner theaters, meetings, and various community events.
[The history of Western View Lodge #246 was Compiled in July 2002 from lodge records by then 92-year old Anna (Rehor) Poore.]
Erected 2009 by Osborne County Tourism, Inc.
Funding for this marker provided by Alton Pride,
Western Fraternal Life Association, Western View Lodge #246
& The Bull City Community Foundation