Program planned for Jan. 20 Will rededicate auditorium
January 12, 2023
The historic former Superior City Hall and Auditorium was constructed between June 1936 and February 1937 with the assistance of the federal (PWA) Public Works Administration funds, a plan formulated during the Depression, by President Franklin Roosevelt, to put people back to work, beginning in 1932. The Public Works Administration built and assisted in the construction of post offices, schools, libraries, city halls and auditoriums, amounting to approximately 11,000 community buildings nationwide. Among these projects were Lincoln’s 27th Street Zoo, Wausa’s Auditorium, Hastings Museum and Superior’s City Hall and Auditorium.
Superior, in need of a new city hall, saw the advantages of a city auditorium. On July 30, 1935, the citizens voted 393 to 161 to increase taxes to aid in the construction of the project. In September, the PWA proffered a grant of $72,727 to offset the estimated construction cost of $73,000, which was approved that October.
Four lots, a quarter of Block 30 at East Fifth and North Commercial, were purchased for $3,500. Architect Kenneth Gedney’s plans were approved, with the construction contract awarded to the Hastings firm of Green Brothers. Work began June 9, 1936, on the Art Deco structure, described as a three-story, steel-frame, brick and limestone structure housing the auditorium, city offices, city council chamber and a third-floor jail cell.
For nearly 60 years, the building was alive and flourished with all kinds of community events including ballgames, theatrical productions, public dances and more! The legendary World Heavyweight Champion, Joe Louis, once boxed in an exhibition match here!
In addition, well-known musical acts, such as Lawrence Welk, Glenn Miller and Harry James, the biggest traveling Big Bands and recording artists of their day, graced the stage and raised the roof of the Superior Auditorium, bringing the best of music and entertainment from the east and west coasts, right here to our front door!
In 1997, the grand auditorium closed. However, two local polls showed considerable community interest, and in 2007, Bahr, Vermeer & Haecker Architects evaluated the building and proposed a renovation and addition plan.
Steve Fox, president of the Superior Historic Redevelopment Inc., the entity overseeing the rehabilitation of the building, paid the City of Superior $1, in 2012, for title to the closed building with the responsibility of bringing it up to current codes and standards.
Via generous financial contributions from the Superior City Council, additional donated funds, a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fundraisers and volunteer labor, the downtown Superior landmark has been returned to its former status with modern upgrades to host future venues and a myriad of ways to celebrate and gather as a community.
The Superior Auditorium and Community Center is now on the National Register of Historic Places and located in a National Register Historic District.
An enormous gesture of thanks to the non-profit group, the Superior Historic Redevelopment Inc., the Superior Auditorium Restoration Committee (SARC), local businesses and members of the community (volunteers, past and present). Your generosity and support, over the years, in the fundraising efforts to save the Superior Auditorium Community Center, for new generations...is now a reality!
Enriching a community.
Every community needs a common place where all residents feel welcome to gather for a wide variety of activities, celebrations and events. For nearly seven decades, the Superior Auditorium served that function, providing three generations of people, a place to share a wealth of business, culture, social and sporting events.
In celebration of the history and preservation of this landmark building, dedicated on Dec. 28, 1937, to the proud community of Superior, a grand re-opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 20, given by the Superior Chamber of Commerce.
A special guest will join in cutting the ribbon, with an exciting evening performance to follow! Nebraska’s own, world-wide, Elvis Tribute Artist and ‘America’s Got Talent’ contestant, Joseph Hall, is making Superior one of his many stops across the nation and abroad, to perform his ‘Rock N Remember’ Elvis Tribute Show. When asked how Joseph started impersonating Elvis, Kyle (Joseph’s father and manager) responded, “I was an Elvis fanatic! I was in the restaurant business, so our family moved a lot. We spent a lot of time in the UHaul, listening to Elvis! For the first 15 years of Joseph’s life, he listened to and studied everything about Elvis’ voice, facial expressions and movements. And he was good! As he got older, he told me he was not interested in the restaurant business and wanted to take a shot at performing! He said, “I can do this!” He did one show on Halloween in 2006. That night, he booked multiple shows and in less than a year and a half, he was competing on ‘America’s Got Talent!’
A friend of mine asked if I had ever seen ‘America’s Got Talent.’ He encouraged me to send a video of Joseph. So, I did. I didn’t share it with Joseph, thinking it would make him nervous. So, I just waited and waited...and the call came! I was told to fly Joseph to Navy Pier in Chicago to audition! We couldn’t believe it! He made it, went on TV and performed like he’d always done it! Flawless! Out of the many contestants, he made it to the Top 5!”
Because of Joseph’s world-wide exposure, steady bookings and travel, Kyle sold his restaurant to become his son’s manager. Seventeen years in, Joseph continues to travel nationally and internationally, paying tribute to Elvis, with 2,200 shows under his belt!
The Elvis Tribute Show! “Rock N Remember!” will be at the Superior Auditorium Community Center Friday, Jan. 20. Doors and bar open at 6 p.m. Showtime is at 7 p.m. A‘Meet and Greet’ with Joseph is scheduled for after the show. General admission seats are available at the door or purchased online Elvis-in-Superior (For Cash Ticket Sales, call Deb Ostdiek. (402)879-1370)