Experiencing the Bee States Ballroom

BEE, Neb.- The Bee States Ballroom has 12 sides, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Just with that information, you know it's a unique building. And residents of Bee, Nebraska are quite proud of it. "The ballroom was built in 1939, and the dedication was in 1940 in the spring," Father Brendan Kelly of the St. Wenceslaus Church in Bee said. "It was built by the WPA as one of the last projects they did in Nebraska. WPA was the Works Progress Administration, and it was a national project started by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the depression, and this building came out of that," Kelly said.

Kelly said the workers with the WPA had equipment and materials. A local engineer drew up the plans for the building overnight, and wanted to take into account the labor he had available and the materials available. "He designed a really unique building with 12 sides, and it's poured concrete. The men worked all around it, put up the wood forms, poured the concrete, and mixed it by hand. As you go around the walls, it looks like cinder block, but it's actually marks from the wood forms," Kelly said.

The ballroom has been used over the years for many events, from dances to basketball games. The ballroom is used in January and February for basketball tournaments. The tournaments are for middle school students down to about 3rd or 4th grade. "This becomes the Bee Dome," Kelly said.

Residents have been raising money for the Bee States Ballroom for a number of years now. There is a monument outside the building that has bricks with people's names. That monument was put there as a way of starting the effort to refurbish the hall. Since then, much work has been done. Now, there is heating and air conditioning, which makes holding weddings and dances in the building much easier in the summer months. The roof has been reconstructed, and efforts to strengthen the walls have been achieved. The entire inside of the roof was scraped and painted by three people, and the lighting is all LED.

Bee residents are encouraging people to rent the ballroom for weddings, wedding receptions, dances or any event. For more information on that, contact the village clerk at 402-643-6247.