Wagner Performing Arts Center, Monroe Washington, 1939Wagner Performing Arts Center, Monroe Washington, built in 1939. Photo: Connie Goss, 2017 Public Domain
The Wagner Performing Arts Center in Monroe, Washington was originally the auditorium of Monroe Junior High School, built in the late 1930s with the help of PWA grant funds.
Construction of the auditorium and school began in September, 1938 and was completed within a year. The dedication ceremony was held September 15, 1939. Governor Clarence D. Martin was the keynote speaker, and declared the building to be one of the finest of its kind in the state.
PWA representative Francis Grant was in attendance, as well as architect William Mallis of Seattle, Mr. Tait of the Tait Engineering Company of Everett, and Mr. Albert Johnson, representing Western Construction Company.
A grant of $64,000 from the PWA was the largest single contribution to the construction costs. The balance was covered by a private donation of $31,590 from Mr. Frank Wagner, $20,000 in state funding, $10,500 from the Monroe School District budget, and $18,200 in local taxes approved by the Monroe community in a special election held in July of 1938.
Mr. Wagner’s donation was given in memory of his late father George Wagner, a prominent lumberman and a key figure in Monroe’s early history. The auditorium was originally known as the Wagner Memorial Auditorium.
The art-deco style auditorium is still in use today and retains most of its original décor and facilities. It seats approximately 630.
Monroe Monitor newspaper, July 22, 1938, (http://mhs.stparchive.com/Archive/MHS/MHS07221938p01.php), accessed November 6, 2018.
Monroe Monitor newspaper, September 15, 1939.
Monroe Monitor newspaper, September 22, 1939.
Project originally submitted by Connie Goss on November 6, 2018.