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The Dalles Civic hosts Sunday open house May 18

A photo unearthed from the nooks and crannies of The Dalles Civic Auditorium shows performers in a play and the well-dressed audience of the mid-1900s.	Contributed photo

A photo unearthed from the nooks and crannies of The Dalles Civic Auditorium shows performers in a play and the well-dressed audience of the mid-1900s. Contributed photo

As plans for the open house at the historic The Dalles Civic Auditorium come together, snooping around the nooks and crannies of the building has provided some great surprises.

The open house is set to begin at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 18, and will end at 3 p.m.

Trish Neal, chairman of the planning committee said that the most fun the planning committee has had is exploring the storage spaces and closets at the Civic.

Neal stated that the group, made up of board member Sherry Munro, former board member Laura Comini, and local historians Sandy Bisset and Mary Davis, has had fun looking through old photographs and newspaper clippings, as well as books and other memorabilia.

“We found a band uniform from The Dalles Band in one of the storage rooms” said Neal. It will be displayed along with a photograph of one of the band and other memorabilia.

Sports has played a big part in the history of The Civic. The ladies had fun looking through the receipt book from The Dalles Boxing Commission. Boxing matches, basketball games and Portland Wrestling have been presented at the Civic over the years.

The Civic has also hosted plays, funerals, orchestras, and more. It was a movie theater at one time and some of the marquees are still located in the Theatre.

One of the more exciting finds was the charm created about 2000 depicting the Civic and designed by the late Paul Wadsworth. By posting the information on Facebook, Neal not only learned more details about the charm but an anonymous donor got in touch with Neal by phone and offered the 14K gold charm to benefit the Civic Auditorium.

“Karma; it was meant to be,” Neal said. She’s happy to relate the story.

The charm will be raffled off with the drawing to take place on Memorial Day. Tickets will be available at the open house, The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce and through board members.

The Fort Dalles Floozies and Friends will be on hand to greet the public at the front door. Neal indicated that the “Victorian Ladies” will be greeting guests as they enter the building.

“We wanted a touch of ‘elegance’ for the ‘Grand Lady’,” Neal said.

In addition, Carrie Swearingen of Classic Carriages will offer carriage rides for attendees.

An added attraction will be the contents of the time capsule recovered from the Lewis and Clark Memorial that was recently demolished.

“We are pleased that the Wasco County Parks and Recreation Department was willing to allow us to display the contents during our open house,” Neal said.

Tours will start in the Theatre approximately every 20 minutes. Members of The Civic Auditorium Preservation Committee will be the tour guides. The elevator will be available for those who are unable to negotiate a lot of stairs. However, in order to get to the Green Room there are some stairs that need to be traversed to get down to the next floor. From there the visitors can either go back up a short flight of stairs to get to the elevator or carefully negotiate the stairs down to the Community Room.

There will be a chance for attendees to help identify photographs as well as write down their memories of events they attended at The Civic over the years. Coffee, Lemonade, and cookies will be offered in the Fireside Room.

Admission is free. Donations will be gladly accepted to support The Civic. Information about the event can be found on The Civic’s website at Neal can be reached at 541-404-0724 or by email at for information or for tickets for the gold charm raffle.


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