Photos From Yesteryear

On January 28, 1919, the city of Sabetha hired S.D. Williamson & Co. to create a preliminary plan for this building at this site of the southwest corner of Main & Eighth Streets where the G.A.R. Hall once stood before it burned down. The front, as well as west and east entrance steps led up to the raised first floor where an auditorium theatre encompassed as much as 80 percent of the hall’s interior with 500 seats on the main floor, 250 seats in the balcony with a complete orchestra pit extending along and just below the stage for 60 plus feet and extending as far into house as the first row of seats. The raised first floor allowed for there to be a full basketball court in the basement. A double bay for fire trucks in the back for entrance from Eighth St., or the east side of the building, city offices were on the front two floors, or the north side of the building that faced Main Street.
On February 18, 1919, the city council passed a resolution to vote on a $44,500 bond to build this city hall. The results from the vote that took place on April 4 was 463 for to 138 against. On April 15, an ordinance was passed for issuing bonds in the above amount, in addition a motion was made authorizing the city clerk to advertise for the construction bids.
By June 17 the council agreed to accept the low bid of $55,500 submitted by Peterson Construction Co. with conditions to be agreed upon. However, at a meeting on June 24 the council unanimously voted on a motion to accept the bid made by Sanneman Bros. Constr. Co. for $58,000, but the actual cost came to $56,000. With a grand opening date of September 3, 1921, this brick structure in the classical style was quite a show piece for a town with a population of 2,000 inhabitants serving this community for a variety of concerts, theatrical performances, speakers and graduation ceremonies up until June 1998 when it was destroyed by a F-2 tornado.
Up until now, there has been nothing printed on Sabetha’s Memorial Hall as everything followed the 1916 Tennal History of Nemaha County publication date. This structure was featured in Vol. 35 – Issue 1, Jan./Feb./Mar. 2017 of the Nemaha County Historical Society’s Pioneer Press Nemaha County Architectural Section.


This photo shows a ticket/admissions booth that was on the south wall of the lobby of the Memorial Hall in Sabetha


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