By Matthew Gunnarson, student writer
One of Monroe’s oldest legacies got new life Saturday.
More than 100 years ago, George Wagner moved to Monroe from Pennsylvania and was a major contributor to the local logging industry. After his death in 1931 his wealth was split between his two children. Then in 1937 one of his children, Frank, decided to honor his father and give to his community by constructing the state-of-the-art Wagner Memorial Auditorium.
Even after almost 80 years the auditorium remains the largest in the valley with 640 seats. Over the years it has hosted many different performances and events, everything from plays and concerts to church services and non-profit meetings. When it was a part of the high school it was even a study hall, with a library where the stage is.
After all these years the Monroe Arts Council aims to restore the auditorium to its former glory.
This weekend, led by the Monroe Arts Council, volunteers from the Rotary club, Lions club, Monroe Concert Band, and of course the council itself, came together to make several improvements. The biggest of these was removing an orchestra pit cap so that the orchestra pit can once again be used.
The aim is to have the theatre ready for a performance of “Hello Dolly” which the Sky Preforming arts are putting on the last two weekends of September.
The improvements done over the weekend are only some of the many which the Arts Council hopes to complete. Other projects include renovating the bathrooms, building an enclosed sound room, and replacing the seats. They are always looking for an array of volunteers to help. If you wish to help you may contact them on their Facebook page or on their website monroeartscouncil.org.