Appelt’s Hill Gun Club: Visited Oct. 20, 2019

Appelt’s (pronounced Apple) Hill Gun Club is found at 4071 CR 204, Hallettsville. It was established 137 years ago. Organized on August 20, 1882 by August J. Appelt and 45 community members, the original platform was built in 1886 on August Appelt’s land. After four king shoots, the platform was moved to Joseph Selzer’s property. The shoots continued there until 1896. The club then purchased 7 1/4 acres where the current club is found. A storm in 1909 destroyed the original building. Their website has more history and information about their May feast (third Sunday in May) and King feast (third Sunday in October).

We attended the King feast where the shooting competition would crown the best shooter as King. During the May feast, women can compete. There were vendors set up in the hall, shooters down the hill, food outside and Erik brought a boom box in for us to dance. A perfect combination!

A view of the ceiling from one end of the hall
The spinner for the cake walk

This was stop one of our Dance Hall Road Trip organized by Erik and Laurie McCowan. Thirteen eager dancers in our group were treated to a huge lunch of pork steak, green beans, German potatoes, sauerkraut, bread and tea. The club was super organized, having each meal already packed in a styrofoam container ready to pick up. Mine felt as though it weighed 5 pounds! We ate outside on picnic tables under a nice cover.

Our dining area

There was a cake walk scheduled for 12:30. A quarter held your spot and the wheel was spun until there was a winner. The lucky winner could choose which cake (or brownies, fudge, bag of candy, or cookies) they wanted. Quarters were collected and the fun started anew.

Waiting for the cake walk to start
The spinner for the cake walk

This hall is an unusual shape. From the outside it looks round, but inside it is more rectangular. Wonderful wood floors, walls and ceiling trusses.

The band stage is directly across from the front door. Bathrooms book end each side of the stage.

Band Stage

The bull pen and coat room were added later. The bull pen held all the single males. They waited here until a lady came and allowed them out to dance. The coat room and ticket area was also the place babies were wrapped up and laid down to sleep.

Coat room and ticket booth
Bull pen (in red) and a vendor display to the left

You can see the benches built against the wall for attendees to use during dances.

Benches around the dance floor

After eating, we strolled down to watch some of the shooting.

Gun club rules are prominently posted.

The barrier between spectators and the shooting field

A newspaper article on the wall gives a little more history of the gun club.

Several different angles of the outside of the hall.

The front entrance
Side door off the dance area
Walking around to the front door
From the parking area
Mr. Zappe gave us some history before heading back to the shooting

We had a great time, ate too much food, danced a bit, had some nice conversations with the members and loaded up for our second hall visit, Wied Hall, of the day. If you have a chance, attend the May or October feasts at Appelt’s. Bring your quarters for the cake walk, $10 for the meal, extra cash for the vendors and help keep this hall going. Breslau, Hallettsville, Pagel Settlement and Wied have all closed their gun clubs. Each time a hall closes or is lost, a piece of history is gone.

That’s one of the reasons we started this dance trip, to see and experience a bit of history before it’s lost. Come join us! Hope to see you on the dance floor!

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