An Iowa town’s school burnt to the ground — dedicated residents are bringing it back

Anthon Events Center board members discuss the finishing details before the building's grand...
Anthon Events Center board members discuss the finishing details before the building's grand opening on Sunday.(KTIV)
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 6:04 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANTHON, IA (KTIV) - It’s really the floors that tell the story here at the Anthon Event Center they’re one of the few things that hasn’t been remodeled after the building was saved from a fire in 1965.

That fire caused students to cram into the gym for class, the only part of the old school building left standing. The original flooring still remains, it’s now a dancefloor.

The students eventually moved out, and a community-building moved into the gym. But then, it started to show its age.

“I think that the typical community member is going to come in and simply not believe the progress that we’ve made,” said Adam Henderson, the president of the Anthon Events Center Board of Trustees.

The events center hosted the occasional wedding and annual events from regional groups. But the A/C didn’t get very cold, the walls were covered in carpet to improve the acoustics, and the ceiling was still set at the proper height for a basketball game.

Then Anthon Resident Adam Henderson, and others, of course, had an idea: Update the space and drive even more people to town.

“After we got the grant, we had, you know, a single private individual that randomly, showed up my house and said, ‘Hey, I’d like to donate money.’ And he donated $35,000,” said Henderson.

After another $200,000 grant from the Missouri River Historical Development program, the trustees were in business. That’s where Amy McFarland comes in. The group needed an interior designer.

" And I think just this new, fresh and bright. Just makes you feel good. When you’re in here. If you’ve been in here before it was it was a nice space, but this just feels better,” said McFarland.

On Sunday when the Events Center holds its first open house, only a few will know about the fire. Everyone in Anthon will notice the remodel. And the old building will get a new start.

The Anthon Events Center will hold its open house this Sunday, from 2 to 6 p.m.

We will spoil one detail: A one-night reservation runs less than $300, and the board of trustees is so excited, that they just might bartend for you.

Copyright 2022 KTIV. All rights reserved.