Construction of the McCook Memorial Auditorium was completed in 1939 and was the accomplishment of a long-cherished goal of the citizens of McCook. The first efforts in building the auditorium failed in the 1890s and, periodically, the matter was brought up but, for various reasons did not materialize. The auditorium was finally completed in 1939 and dedicated as a memorial to veterans of all wars.
The city council called a special election which was held on June 15, 1938, as a result of a petition sponsored by the chamber of commerce. The election was for voting $50,000 worth of municipal bonds for the city’s share of the total cost of the project. The bond issue carried 1,197 to 583, a 67% majority. On June 25, 1938, the council passed an ordinance creating the auditorium bonds and on October 24, 1938, a federal P.W.A. grant of $42,370 was accepted.
The land, which was 300 feet square, was purchased from John E Kelley for $1,000. Chris Hansen Post No. 203, American Legion donated $960 for purchase of the land. Later the council deemed that more land was necessary, and purchased it from Kelley as well. The purchase increased the size to 300 feet by 355 feet. Part of the auditorium, at that time, was out of the city, so the council created the Auditorium Addition to the city. The architectural firm, McGennis and Schaumberg of Lincoln was awarded the design of the project.
The first public entertainment in the auditorium was a dance sponsored by the veterans organizations of the city and was held on Armistice Day, November 11, 1939. The formal dedication of the auditorium was November 12, 1939.
The city offices, which were formerly in the courthouse, moved to the auditorium in about 1950. Today, the auditorium houses the city offices and council chambers and still serves as an entertainment and cultural activities facility.
The auditorium is available to rent for your special event on a first-come-first-serve basis. For fees and other information, you may review the auditorium rental contract. For availability, see the events calendar. For other details, please contact the City Offices.