History of the Delos V. Smith
When the Delos V. Smith Senior Center first opened its doors in March of 1987, it was quite smaller than our present-day facility. With a 3,500 square-foot capacity, the center consisted of a small kitchen area, office and meeting space, and a multi-purpose room—our modern Commons area and Middle Room. There was also a freestanding Greek Parthenon centerpiece.
On May 16, 1994, an open house was held for the general public to inspect the recently completed remodel of the center. It actually opened the entire original building for use by the Center, giving us what is now the Large Activity Room, additional restrooms, a maintenance room, and a second, bigger kitchen.
Delos himself was the visionary for the center, from its inception through all of its growth. He established the Delos V. Smith Senior Citizen Foundation in 1977 with the intention of funding the center. Although he died in 1997, he had still planned for the final addition that took place in 2001—the entire west side. In 2003, our present day center was finally complete with extra offices, 3 more classrooms, an auditorium, and a parking lot.
The center, named after Delos’s father, is actually composed of three separate buildings, two of which were owned and donated to the center by Delos. The first building, which the original center occupied, was built by Delos’s father for his harness manufacturing shop. The second building on the west was the former Wasson building. It now completes the present-day center. A third building to the south, the former Welborn’s, was purchased and demolished for the present parking lot.
In a note Delos had written containing items he wished to include about the center in his future obituary, he stated, “Our dream is On Going Education, Continued Learning for seniors who are demographically on the increase…. Everything but one dollar forty Govt. Friendship meal is free—no charges for center, classes, craft materials, tea, coffee, etc….It is completely ecumenical and all colors, races and creeds are welcomed. We stress alertness, motivation and health—keep our seniors involved and responsible.” Delos hoped that his endowment to the Delos V. Smith Senior Citizen Foundation would keep the center running “for hundreds of years…hopefully into perpetuity.”
The Delos V. Smith Senior Center is a legacy that Delos was proud to give to his hometown. We (the board and staff members) hope that the senior population of Reno County, aged 60 years and above, will continue to make every use of this facility as we strive to match his vision and dream.