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In March of 1935, construction for the Willmar Auditorium began. The basement was excavated and the walls poured with concrete. The work was suspended in June through September. When construction resumed in late 1935, it was decided to substitute brick for the local stone. Because some field stone had already been collected, it was used for the foundation of the building’s back wall. The building was finished in 1937 at a cost of $185,500. Formal dedication of the building took place May 23rd, 1937, even though the murals in the War Memorial Room were not completed until 1938. The War Memorial Room is located to the left of the lobby upon entering the building. It is a room dedicated to the memory of veterans of all wars. Two significant features of the room are the Memorial Stones and the Memorial Mural. The room has a stone or rock from every one of the 48 states of the Union (Alaska and Hawaii were added when they entered statehood). Some of the stones were sent to Willmar completed, some were partially completed, and others were in the rough. Many of the stones have historical background of considerable interest. A mural painting, located above the stones, encircles the room. The south wall depicts the early settlers as well as the U.S. conflict of 1862. The west wall represents the three major wars of the time; Civil War, Spanish American War, and World War 1. The north wall suggests the defense of the country, home and family, sacrifices by women, three generations affected by the loss of one man, and the desolation and misery of war. The east wall depicts the ideals for which these men gave their lives: freedom of speech and assemblage, freedom of the press and a voice in the government, freedom of religion and education, the abolition of slavery, the right to work, and the guarantee of personal liberty and security. The sculpture over the entrance was commissioned as part of the Depression-era Federal Art Project.

 

Willmar War Memorial Auditorium

Map Location 10