Brandon Auditorium renovation under wayIn 1935 these children played on the sand pile that was used to make cement and mortar for the construction of the historic Brandon Auditorium.
By: By Christella Korkowski, Alexandria Echo Press
In 1935 these children played on the sand pile that was used to make cement and mortar for the construction of the historic Brandon Auditorium. The children all lived within a couple of city blocks from the construction site. Ardyce Anderson was the daughter of Gust Anderson, the construction foreman.
The 1930s brought hard times to our nation. The Workers Progress Administration (WPA) was established to provide employment for heads of households on relief. Workers, paid according to the prevailing wage in the area, provided the manpower to construct roads and public buildings. The minimum wage was $31 per month.
The Brandon Auditorium, built to replace the former City Hall, was a WPA project. The planning began in 1934 and the completed auditorium was dedicated on October 22, 1936 with 5,000 people in attendance.
This auditorium was used by the Brandon school for its activities from 1936 until the new high school was completed in 1958. It has since become the social and civic hub of our community, and is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
Seventy-five years have taken a toll on the building and the need for repair is apparent. Recent efforts have been made to raise money to start this renovation.
Fundraisers, grants and donations from private sources and organizations have been successful so that Phase I of the project is under way.
ORB Management Corporation and Design Tree Engineering of Alexandria, Claybaugh Preservation Architects of Taylors Falls, along with the Brandon City Council, are collaborating on the plans for this project, which will begin as soon as weather permits.
Phase I will include some electrical items, masonry cleaning and stabilizing, match mortar and tuck point stone, replace exterior window caulk, roof cap flashing repair, waterproof the building, replace an auditorium door, chimney repair, replace the sidewalk and railing repair.
Phase I is expected to be finished in time for the Brandon Summerfest, which begins August 4.
You will be able to follow the progress of the project on the ORB Management website at http://orbmanagement.biz/agree.html with the following username and password.
Interior renovations are planned for Phase II. Application will be made for more grants, meaning we need to raise local matching funds. Your donation of any size will be welcome.
The Brandon History Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, thus contributions qualify for tax deductions.
At the Brandon History Center we are gathering the names of men who worked on the construction of the building. If you know of anyone, please contact us. We would also be interested in seeing any pictures of the workers or the building project.
Contact Christella Korkowski at (320) 834-4505. The mailing address is Brandon History Center, P.O. Box 514, Brandon, MN 56315.