By Luke Anderson
August 12, 2015
The Kearney Community Hall is a multi-use facility located in Johnson County that was used for reunions, dances, elections, meetings, and parties among many other community activities. The Community Hall was built in the 1950s, and it is currently in the process of pursuing renovation efforts that will restore the building to be used once again as a thriving community center.
Architecturally, this building speaks uniquely to its time and its place. Built in the 1950s, the Kearny Community Hall is characteristically modern, with concrete block construction, steel sashes, and simple window openings. The building’s character defining features include simple asymmetrical massing, lack of decorative details, steel windows with a horizontal emphasis, and smooth planar surfaces and finishes. It breaks from the traditional eclectic modern features with the hipped roof, which was a modification made on the basis of practicality for the harsher climate of northern Wyoming.
The Kearney Community Hall is a significant piece of Wyoming’s cultural and architectural history. The building served the sparsely populated ranching community of rural Sheridan County, which attests to the resilience of the ranching industry in Wyoming as the rest of the world began to urbanize and modernize. The modern style of the building shows the continual influence of globalization even in the most rural corners of Wyoming, while the large exterior stone chimney pays tribute to the rustic style of western homestead cabins. The Kearney Community Hall stands uniquely as an amalgamation of modernity and traditional Wyoming values in a form that was extremely beneficial to community well-being.
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This project was funded in part by a Historic Architecture Assistance Fund grant, and completed by CTA Architects and Engineers. The program is offered by the Alliance for Historic Wyoming in partnership with Wyoming Main Street and the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, and is made possible by a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.