9 Miles of Friendly People
Plus One Old Crab
History & Mission
The Cruso Friendship Club was established in the mid 1980s as an extension of the County Homemakers Clubs. When the Homemakers dissolved, the Friendship Club was born. Members host community fundraising events to support the Club's mission to provide scholarships, needs-based assistance, and community awareness in the Cruso/Bethel area. The Club advocates for the Cruso community and it's Community Center to preserve and promote community based programs and relations.
Erected in 1938, the historic Cruso School is now home to the Cruso Community Center, Library and Thrift Shop. The native stone building operated as a "feeder" school to Bethel Junior High for nearly 30 years. The facility was used for educational purposes until 1967 when the Haywood County School System consolidated and closed operations. Two years later, in 1969, A.I. Freelander, a local philanthropist, purchased the building from the county and returned it to the community of Cruso for just one dollar. Mr. Freelander's one caveat was that the building must always remain available for community use.
The Cruso Friendship Club along with the Community Center host a variety of events from May thru October. Click on the links below to check out more on each event.
Preservation & Sustainability
The Cruso Community Development Corporation was established in order to renovate, improve and maintain the aging building. With a dedicated team of "managing" volunteers, old windows, mostly wired shut, were replaced with energy-efficient models and a new roof was installed. Doors were replaced to secure the facility. Drop ceilings in the hallway along with ceiling fans were installed in every room to help move the warm summer air. Ninety-five percent of the light fixtures have improved energy efficiency through the use of modern LED light bulbs. A track was added around the perimeter of the property so that residents could have a safe area to walk or run. New landscaping was planted and building signs updated. A mural of Cold Mountain was painted on the stage wall in the auditorium. In 2013, a Quilt Block was added to outside of the building: "Moon Over Cold Mountain: Four Seasons" and the center is now featured on the Haywood County Quilt Trail. We continue to work toward restoration of the 80-year old building to keep it functional and beautiful for many years to come.
The Cruso Friendship Club provides needs assistance, community based programs, scholarships, and so much more!
Community Center Preservation
Valentine Gifts to Elderly