Celeste residents hope to revive 'Hogeye' center

Jul 11, 2013

A community meeting is scheduled this week in an effort to drum up support to build a new Hogeye Community Center.

The former location, site of a popular stew supper and other events, was destroyed in a possible arson fire more than four years ago. Members of the community are now asking anyone wanting to participate in the rebuilding effort to attend the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in the fellowship hall of Celeste United Methodist Church, 207 North 4th Street in Celeste.

On one February weekend for more than 50 years, the Hogeye Community Center was the place to go for stew with all the fixings. And, during election years, large crowds of candidates turned out to meet and greet the hungry folks during the annual Hogeye Stew Supper at the center, which had been located at 2795 Farm-to-Market Road 1566, across from Hogeye Celeste Cemetery, about 10 miles north of Greenville. A $5 ticket purchased at the door bought stew, cornbread, a drink and dessert.

The supper typically drew several hundred people for the sit-down meal. A suspicious fire in January 2009 destroyed the facility. The community is named for the symbolic eye of the Masonic order, which according to historian W. Walworth Harrison looked “to some of the unlettered natives” like a hog’s eye. The first floor of the lodge, established in the 1850s, functioned as a community school until the lodge was moved to Kingston and then to Celeste in 1886. Suppers have been held at the center each month since the 1950s.