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City of Harlan

Veteran's Memorial Auditorium

Veteran's Memorial Auditorium Sign, 12th Street & Mockingbird Drive, Harlan, IowaThe Veteran's Memorial Auditorium has been a part of Harlan's proud history for a long time.  This is a great venue for so many things: wedding receptions, dances, sporting events, crafts shows, auctions just to name a few! Tim Miller is the Vet's Auditorium manager.  He can be reached at (712) 755-3440.


Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, Harlan, Iowa Looking NorthA little history on the Veterans Memorial Auditorium.   It was decided that there was a need for a community building for the Shelby county area, and shortly after WWII a petition with 373 names on it was presented to the Harlan City Council to construct such a building as a memorial to local service men who gave their lives in the war.  The petition called for voters to approve a $90,000 bond to be paid from revenues of the city owned electric utility.  On June 11, 1946 the bond passed 611 for and 140 against.  The building would be named the Liberty Memorial Building.  It appeared more money was needed for the build and in 1958 a 2nd bond issue for Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, Harlan, Iowa Looking East$150,000 was proposed and defeated.During those 20 years no one could reach an agreement as to exactly what kind of building to build, how big, what should be in it, stage no stage, or even where it should be built. In 1960s the whole building idea got snafued in committees and the idea was stalled and the commission was disbanded.  In 1964 the commission was reintroduced and the 5 man board of Robert (Cob) Jacobsen, Clay Pauley, Al Krogstad, Wade Burchett, and Phil Phelps purchased the 15 acres of land that the building now sits on for $15,000 and April 1965 Knudson and Sons of Harlan was the low bidder for the building contract of $134,500.  But there was only $100,000 on hand so the HMU board gave $35,000 to the City which in turn transferred that to the project.  Another $20,000 was donated by two Harlan banks plus $9,000 from other contributions.Ground breaking was May 18, 1965.  All told the cost of the completed building including land, furnishings, and architect fees was $194,380.  In March of 1966, the building was officially renamed “Veterans Memorial Auditorium”.  On May 10, 1966 the Glenn Miller orchestra presented a fund raising dance in the new building.  Over 1,000 people attended and 8 police officers were used to help with parking.  The building officially opened on September 14, 1965.  REC was the first official renter of the build with a meeting held on September 15, 1965 with over 1,000 people in attendance.  The first basketball game was held on December 8, 1966.Today we host a variety of function such as Weddings, Auctions, Fundraisers, Basketball tournaments, Business meeting, Bloodmobiles, Food Pantries, VFW, all sorts of events. 

 

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