An auditorium in Fillmore County is one of several Nebraska buildings constructed by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.
The Ohiowa Auditorium was completed by WPA workers in 1940. "A couple of years later, they built the Bruning Army Air Field four miles south of town," Ohiowa area resident Morley Most said. "The soldiers that were stationed there had an opportunity to come here and go to movies and dances." In other words, the auditorium served as an entertainment center for soldiers during World War II.
Over the years, the auditorium has been used for not only dances and movies, but for roller skating, craft shows, auctions, and as a polling place. "One of the great advantages of it is that it's on ground level, and it's wheelchair accessible. We have a nice park across the street for kids to play in during events, and people can go across the street to the cafe for a nice meal," Most said. "The community has done a wonderful job of keeping the auditorium pretty much in its original condition."
"When I was young, my parents would bring me to town, and they would bring cream and eggs to town. They would buy groceries, and then we would come to the movie," Most said. "There were a lot of old western movies playing at that time. And actually my wife and I had our 25th anniversary celebration here, and our wedding dance. It's home to us."
When television came into the area in the mid 1950's, there was a decline in movies shown at the auditorium, but the dances continued for a number of years. Dances still happen at the building on occasion. The auditorium is certainly a source of pride in Ohiowa, and it's well worth a look if you are traveling through southeastern Fillmore County.