Sunday
Apr202014

September 10, 1923 - Municipal Auditorium

 

In 1921, a $200,000 bond was passed to finance a Municipal Memorial Hall to honor the vetrans killed in World War I.  The hall was built within two years, on the site of the old Pavilion and soon became known as the Municipal Auditorium.  Six Grecian columns of Ionic design adorned the front of the building.

The building had a 100 by 114 foot auditorium that seats 3,000 and a stage that can hold 300.  It was the first building west of New York that had sound-deading acoustic tile.

On Monday, September 10, 1923, a three day grand opening celebration began:

-  Opening ceremonies on the first evening drew over 2,000 people, including hundreds of children.

-  Over 3,000 folks heard the San Bernardino Community Orchestra on the second day.

-  The Grand Ball and Pioneer Dance drew another 2,000 to the closing night festivities.

For decades, the building was in constant use for all kinds of cultural events, dances, circuses, conventions, big bands, etc.  But by the sixties, there were fewer and fewer gatherings at the Auditorium.

Over the years there was talk of turning it into a museum or art gallery, or maybe even a boxing arena.  On January 5, 1979, the city locked its doors due to safety concerns.  It was estimated that $750,000 was needed to bring the 56 year old building up to modern building and fire standards.  

About the same time the city was told that the City Public Library would have to vacate its quarters in two years to make room for the County Superblock.  To build a new lbrary on the site of the Auditorium was $2.0 million less than rennovating the old building for use as a library.

In June of 1982, the Municipal Auditorium was torn down to make way for the Norman F. Feldhyem Library.