Square dancing had been popular in Lake City since before anyone could
remember. But there had been no club in the area since the Lake City
Squares disbanded about five years prior to 1978, when Imogene Connolly
Lawrence got together with
Imogene and R.J. both worked for BellSouth, then known as Southern Bell. Imogene was looking for a project for the Telephone Pioneers of America to raise money for fireproof vests for the firemen in Lake City.
The Project: Wouldn't it be fun to have a "one-nighter" square dance? Everyone seemed to think so, especially since there were a lot of people in Lake City who already knew how to square dance.
Imogene contacted R.J. to ask if he would call for the
"one-nighter". R.J. was gung-ho on the project and agreed to call. Imogene procured a building at the Columbia County Fair Grounds. They set the date, did some advertising and waited. The dance was a hit. Eighteen squares of dancers showed up ready to square dance.
And that was that - except R.J. got to thinking. If that many people in the Lake City area loved to square dance, why wasn't there a club in the area? He contacted his old telephone company buddy, Imogene. He wanted to start a club in Lake City. Imogene helped by arranging for the place to dance and working on the advertising.
In September of 1978, R.J. started calling dances every week at the fairgrounds - until the fair came to town. They then moved to the old American Legion Hall, located in the Lake City downtown area. They danced at the American Legion for a few weeks before moving on to Teen Town.
R.J. called for the Dixie Dancers until he resigned in April of 1987. Until that time, the club was a caller-run club. When R.J. left, the club organized as a club-run club.
After a few months of having different guest callers, James Maxie, from Jacksonville, accepted the invitation to be the Dixie Dancers caller. James soon realized it was a long way to travel between Lake City and Jacksonville every week. In March of 1988, he resigned as the club's caller.
The club held a special meeting and elected to invite Bill Chesnut to be the club's caller. Bill accepted the invitation and started calling for the club in April of 1988.