Three central Nebraska buildings make historic register
LINCOLN, Neb. (KSNB) - Buildings in York, Ravenna and Inavale are now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
They were among six buildings registered according to History Nebraska. They include the Inavale Community Center in Inavale, the Bohning Memorial Auditorium in Ravenna, the York Auditorium in York, the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church in Beatrice, the Iowa-Nebraska Light and Power Company Plant in Lincoln, and the Agricultural Society Building in Weeping Water.
The Inavale Community Hall and Gymnasium in the unincorporated community of Inavale in rural Webster County represents a Works Progress Administration era recreational building. The New Deal’s WPA program built hundreds of projects in the state and employed thousands of people during the Depression and early years of World War II. This building was constructed one year before the program ended using paid and volunteer labor. The builders used salvaged concrete blocks from a building in the neighboring city Red Cloud showing their resourcefulness and can-do attitude. The period of significance begins in 1942, the year it was constructed, and extends through 1972, 50 years before the writing of the nomination. The building served as a roller rink until 1979 and while it has been used for other purposes it is now vacant.
Bohning Memorial Auditorium in Ravenna represents a community coming together during the Depression to build an auditorium that would serve as a hub for the community. Architect John Helleberg constructed the building in 1934 with local labor provided by the New Deal’s Civil Works Administration Program. The CWA was an early New Deal program that paved the way for the Works Progress Administration Program. The brick auditorium sits near downtown, placing it firmly in the heart of the community and ensuring its role as an entertainment and recreational venue. The period of significance begins in 1934, the year the building opened, and extends through 1972, 50 years before the writing of the nomination. The City of Ravenna still owns the building and uses it regularly for community events.
The York Auditorium in York represents a long tradition of community use as a civic, entertainment and sports venue. It was built in 1940 by architects Schaumberg and Meginnis using the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration funding and local labor. The auditorium’s construction capped-off the community’s multi-year campaign to build a large community space during the Depression. It began hosting a multitude events almost immediately after opening. The concrete auditorium sits just east of the downtown business district. Its Art Deco style and choice of building material represents strength and longevity which is evidenced by its continued use today.
The period of significance begins in 1940 the year it was constructed and extends through 1972, 50 years from the writing of the nomination. It remains an auditorium and sports venue today, and now also houses a local museum.
The Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, now known as Centenary United Methodist Church, in Beatrice represents Late English Gothic Revival church architecture in Nebraska with its tall turret-topped tower, buttresses, arched art glass windows, belt courses, open truss roof, and arcaded arches. The church was designed by the architectural firm Dougher, Rich and Woodburn from Des Moines, IA, and built by Ernest R. Rokahr from Lincoln in 1930. Both the architect and the builder were known for providing high quality services and design. The layout of the educational wing is particularly notable as it follows a progressive design for the day with solid walls and doors to define classrooms instead of incorporating more flexible spaces. The period of significance is 1930, the year the church was built. The church continues to serve its congregation today.
The Iowa-Nebraska Light and Power Company Plant, more commonly known as the K Street Power Plant, in Lincoln represents an industrial building use and re-use. The building was built as a power plant by architect G.T. Shoemaker in 1930 for the Iowa Nebraska Light and Power Company to provide power for Lincoln and the surrounding area. In 1936, the production of power shifted from privately-owned companies to public entities with the passage of the Rural Electrification Act and ownership shifted to Nebraska Public Power.
In 1950, older buildings on the site were removed and the center bay was built. In 1971, Lincoln Electric System, the city’s public power division, bought the building and began the process of shutting down the power plant. The 1930 Art Deco style brick building emphasized strength and longevity as a site for power. The block has served as a power facility since 1883 when it was first home to the Capital City Street Railway Company. The site continued to provide power to Lincoln and the surrounding rural area until 1971. The period of significance begins in 1930, the year it was constructed, and extends through 1971 when the city purchased the building. After serving as offices and a records storage facility for a number of years, the building is currently awaiting rehabilitation.
The Agricultural Society Building in Weeping Water was built for the Cass County Agricultural Society to use as an auditorium and meeting space. Activities for the Cass County Fair began as early as 1857, but it wasn’t until the Cass County Agricultural Society began formalizing the fair in the 1920s that talk of dedicated land for the fair began. After a number of years, the community received funding through the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) Program to construct the building. The WPA built hundreds of projects in the state and employed thousands of people. The two-story Streamline Moderne style building represents the strength and importance of this building to the community. It sits prominently in the town’s commercial area and features large inset lettering “CASS COVNTY AGRICVTVRAL SOCIETY” and “AVDITORIVM” to emphasize its use. The period of significance begins in 1939, the year the building was constructed, and extends through 1967, when the fair location moved out of the building.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s inventory of properties deemed worthy of preservation. It is part of a national program to coordinate and support local and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect the nation’s historic and archeological resources. The National Register was developed to recognize historic places and their role in contributing to our country’s heritage. Properties listed in the National Register either individually or as contributing to a historic district are eligible for State and Federal tax incentives.
For more information on the National Register program in Nebraska, contact the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office at History Nebraska at (402) 525-4927 or visit history.nebraska.gov.
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