Sanders Gynmasium and Community Hall

Also known as: Sanders Gym
Old Hwy 10, 6 mi. E of Hysham, Sanders, Montana

Photos 

Gymnasium & Community Hall Sanders MT

Photo taken by David Jones in November 2018

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Description 

"A sense of community and a place to gather were essential in homesteading settlements like Sanders. In 1910, the area’s residents rallied together to build a club house on this site. Each donated $15 or its equivalent in labor, and the building, though crudely assembled, served for nearly thirty years. By the late 1930s, the club house was in disrepair. The Sanders School District wanted a facility that could double as a gymnasium serving Sanders Elementary School next door. A bond election secured funds and the old building was cleared away. Acclaimed regional architect John G. Link drew the plans while Billings contractor Steve Mercer won the bid at $3,500. The rustic exterior of rugged square-notched logs is a surprising contrast to the interior’s lofty ceiling of arched fir and polished hardwood floor. A basketball court, raised stage, built-in seating and state-of-the-art lighting reflected modern technologies despite a lack of indoor plumbing. A community dance christened the new hall and gymnasium on June 29, 1940. Sanders’ population began to dwindle and the school closed in 1948. It was later moved to Hysham, but the front gate and two-hole privy remain part of the historic landscape. The hall continued to host dances, reunions, receptions, school plays, and rousing games. Local residents, including descendants of area homesteaders, have carefully refurbished this well-loved place. Its unassuming presence is a shining example of grand things that can be found in unexpected places." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society plaque

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on August 29, 1997
Reference number
97000976
Architectural styles
Other architectural type; American Movement: Bungalow/Craftsman; Rustic
Areas of significance
Entertainment/Recreation; Social History; Architecture
Levels of significance
State; Local
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic functions
Sport facility; Meeting hall
Current functions
Sport facility; Meeting hall
Period of significance
1925-1949
Significant year
1940
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2
Contributing structures: 1

Update Log 

  • August 1, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical information
  • December 10, 2018: New photos from David Jones

Sources