WINDOM — For 30 years, the Windom Senior Center has hosted multiple meetings, meals and morning coffee sessions.

A open house in honor of the senior center's 30th anniversary will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at its location at 601 Main St. in Windom.

The building's simple construction catches the eye as people drive down Main Street.

Director Bert Long said the building was originally a barracks used at Schilling Air Force Base in Salina.

"The building was originally bought by a banker and he bought it for the youth to have a place to come to," said Windom resident Alice Taylor. "...It's been in use ever since."

"At one time it was a restaurant," Bert added.

Several of the senior center's members remember when the building housed the Windom Cafe.

"That old Etta May, she used to cook the best fried chicken," said Windom resident Russel Bernd.

Gathering for food and conversation is still a big part of the building's purpose as the senior center. Besides offering coffee on a regular basis, a covered dish potluck for the whole community is held fourth Monday of the month.

"On Saturday, we have pancakes or waffles and sausage. ...Sometimes I throw in biscuits and gravy when I feel like it," Bert said.

The breakfasts are all paid for by freewill donation.

The senior center members admitted they appreciate getting to visit with their neighbors, some of whom they have known since childhood.

"It's a small community. You get to know everybody," Bernd said.

"We're still on the map," chuckled Bert's husband, Roy Long.

The town has slowly dwindled over the past 20 years from a population of 150 to just over 100 people

Those present at the senior center on Wednesday morning agreed that the best thing about living in Windom was its peaceful and quiet atmosphere, along with relative safety.

"A lot of people have just moved or passed away," Bernd said.

"They're just dying to get out of here," joked Windom resident Alvin Guerin.

The senior center's open house is free and open to the public. The event will feature gifts, refreshments and door prizes.

"It's for anybody who wants to come," Bert said.

The Windom Senior Center is open from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday. For more information, call 620-489-6471.

Contact Patricia Middleton by email at or follow her stories on Twitter at @MiddleSentinel.