The Center’s History > At a Crossroads
First Baptist Church of Ashland’s move to a new location raised a big question. What to do with the first church? No one wanted to see it deteriorate from non-use and become an eyesore to the community. Some parishioners recommended selling the building and others simply wanted to destroy it. Little did they know that a local women’s club was discussing the need for a community civic center and they thought the little building by the railroad tracks was a perfect fit. They wanted a place that could offer the community live theatre show’s, a place to exhibit the works of local artist’s, a teen center, a meeting place for senior citizens, and classrooms for lessons and workshops offered to adults and children. The women’s club approached the church directors and after some discussion began holding fund raising events that were successful and raised enough money to pay an initial down payment. Around June 1967, the dream of a community center began to develop. In a little over a year, by December 1968, The Ashland Junior Women’s Club had raised the $28,000 needed to make the final payment for the building and land. During that short year an all-volunteer Board of Directors had been formed, By-Laws had been written, and recognition by the government had been received designating the new organization as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Their dream of a community center had been realized. The Board of Directors had decided not to limit the uses of the center to just the town of Ashland, so they choose a name that would allow the future members the greatest possible scope. They selected a name that would show the organization was open to town and county citizens. This resulted in our current name, Hanover Arts and Activities Center. The founders directed that the Center would provide opportunities for civic groups, community organizations, and individuals for their cultural enrichment, educational development, and personal growth. They also wanted to ensure that all maintenance would be mindful of the buildings historical place in the community, and any renovations would retain the historical significance of the original structure. The building’s new mission was reshaped, restructured, and given new guidance. For the last 35 years this organization has truly been an active and devoted organization to its community improving educational opportunities, artistic development, and community growth, just as our founders dreamed it would.