Silk Hope Ruritan Club 4221 Silk Hope Rd. Siler City, NC
The first Ruritan Club was chartered May 21, 1928, in Holland, Virginia. Since that first club, Ruritan has grown throughout the United States of America, and in doing so, has become “America’s Leading Community Service Organization.”
Tom Downing of Suffolk, Virginia, and Jack Gwaltney of Holland, Virginia, are known as the co-founders of Ruritan. Gwaltney and Downing recognized the need for an organization where community leaders could meet and discuss ways to make their community a better place in which to live.
The name “Ruritan” was suggested by Daisy Nurney, a reporter for the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot newspaper, and the club’s charter members unanimously adopted “Ruritan” as the organization’s name. The word is a combination of the Latin words for open country “ruri” and small town “tan,” interpreted as pertaining to rural and small town life. For more information about Ruritan National, please visit their website.
Silk Hope, North Carolina
According to Dr. Hayden Lutterloh, Henry Lewis Lutterloh purchased some land in western Chatham County after the Revolutionary War, now known as the old Quakenbush farm. Henry Lewis was born in Germany and came to America by way of England where he married Elizabeth Greetham. As a sailor, Henry Lewis had become interested in the silk industry in China. He decided to implement it in America by planting mulberry trees. However, sadly once the silkworm egg that he brought hatched, the worms would not eat the mulberry leaves. He discovered the mulberry trees were a different variety than those used in China. It is believed that Silk Hope obtained it’s name as a result of Henry Lewis Lutterloh’s silk worm adventure.
Although the exact date is not known of the naming of the community, Silk Hope was in existence prior to 1870. The name Silk Hope appeared on a county map in 1870. At the time a post office was located at the crossroads that served the community. No matter how the community obtained its name, Silk Hope has thrived as an industrious rural community with many farmers producing cotton, tobacco, and grains. A cotton gin and grist mill located near the crossroads enabled the farmers to sell their products. In later years dairy and poultry farms became important to the area’s growth, and farming is still the central livelihood of the community’s residents with production ranging from Angus cattle to pecans and chickens. True to its name, Silk Hope is an optimistic treasure of rural America.
Silk Hope is still a tiny rural community, but it boasts exceptional accomplishments. Its school, Silk Hope Elementary, is a North Carolina School of Excellence, and is recognized as one of the best elementary schools in the state. It has had a championship girl’s soccer team for years. The school has been the starting point for many young people who have gone on to have successful careers and contributed greatly to the American society.
It’s a community with a romantic name and a big heart, and it's on the map to stay.
The Silk Hope Ruritan Club celebrates its Old Fashioned Farmers Day Event every Labor day weekend at the Farm Heritage theme park.
About the Community Building
The mission of the Silk Hope Ruritan Club is to Build Community through “Fellowship, Goodwill and Community Service” in bringing the people of Silk Hope together through endeavors that improve the quality of life. Some of our major past Community-Building activities include starting Silk Hope Fire Department and organizing the construction of the
original Silk Hope Community Fire Station and Community Building in the late 1960s.
Creation of the new Silk Hope Fire Station has resulted in the razing of the old Fire Station/Community Building. Since the late 1960s that facility had served the Silk Hope Community well, providing a Community meeting center for the Scouts, wedding and anniversary receptions, senior citizen groups, graduation celebrations, and many other Community-Building activities.
The new Firehouse was not designed to have suitable facilities (kitchen, etc.) or room to serve as our Community Building. The Silk Hope Ruritan Club decided to devote a large part of our Community-Building effort to financing, building, and operating the brand-new Silk Hope Community Building on land purchased by the Club in June 2000.
We need the help of every member of the Silk Hope Community, as well as our many other friends throughout the area and the state, to complete the financing/mortgage payments of this major asset for the Community.
The Silk Hope Ruritan Club gives the recipients of the scholarship awards in the month of July.
Since 1983, the Silk Hope Ruritan Club has provided over $205,000.00 in scholarships to high school seniors. These high school seniors or higher education students have lived at least one year in the Silk Hope Community, attended Silk Hope School, or whose parents or grandparents are active members of the Silk Hope Ruritan Club. Scholarship money may be used to finance any post-secondary education. The total scholarship money varies from year to year. The scholarship award is based on financial need, merit, leadership, academic standing, and the will of the recipient to help himself or herself prepare for a career as a useful and informed citizen. Local High school graduates connected with Silk Hope School and/or community are eligible.