The venue that hosted Johnny Cash and the Beach Boys on stage and saw the Marymount Spartans begin their 106-game home court winning streak in 1970 – is now being used for storage.
Salina City Manager Mike Schrage tells KSAL News that conversations about Memorial Hall are ongoing.
Schrage says the building’s structure is sound but the challenge in adding office space or apartment units is the hollow nature of the venue.
“That auditorium space in the center is very much a challenge, in that you can’t just fill that in, whether that’s apartments or offices,” he said. “You kind of have to build a building inside the building.”
Back in 2021 the Hutton Corporation offered a preliminary plan that re-imagined the venue as a mixed-use space for public events , banquets and an Esports complex. No partners were found to move the project forward and the concept has not come to fruition.
City commissioners recently took a walking tour of both Memorial Hall and the current Saline County Sheriff’s Office building attached to the jail. Those offices will be open when the jail staff moves to the new facility later this fall.
Some of the office spaces were updated to house the Salina Media Connection which has since vacated.
Salina’s Memorial Hall was built for a cost of $250,000 and opened in September of 1923. Built by the Otto Peterson Construction Co., using the designs of architect Charles W. Shaver.
It opened with seating for 3,063 and one of the first musical performances on stage was the San Carlo Opera Company.
Broadway production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” starring Boris Kaloff played on stage in the 40’s.
Bill Haley and His Comets played there in 1959, plus a list of stars that have played over the decades that include: Del Shannon, The Zombies, Herman’s Hermits and Dolly Parton.