More events set to pay for renovations

Among the proposed improvements and upgrades to the Dayville Community Hall is a wing which will add over 3,600 square feet to the 90-year-old building.

DAYVILLE - The 90-year-old Dayville Community Hall is headed toward a long overdue expansion and upgrades.

The work will include adding a wing of over 3,600 square feet, as well as upgrades to the roof, and the water, sewer, heating, cooling and electrical systems.

About 1,000 square feet of the current hall's 5,527 square feet will be demolished in the process.

The proposed addition will house an office, banquet/meeting room, storage areas, commercial kitchen, and mens' and womens' restrooms with showers.

A spacious lobby will join the two sections.

Organizers hope to pay for the project, which will cost an estimated $808,476, with grants and fundraisers. About $17,000 has been raised so far.

Fund-raisers have included the Oregon Statehood Wagon Train chicken dinner last August, memorial contributions, community potlucks with dessert contests last fall and a Veteran's Day dinner.

Monthly community potlucks are slated to start again. The first one, including an "Anything Green" dessert contest, is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 17, at the hall.

A print by the late Ray Eyerly, titled "The Magnificent Seven," is also being raffled. Eyerly, a central Oregon native from Sisters, specialized in Western art, and was the first Oregon Master Artist in 1971.

Tickets, at $5 each or $25 for six, can be purchased at Old West Federal Credit Union or Bank of Eastern Oregon in John Day.

There's a lot of Dayville history and memories within the hall's walls. Built in 1920 from wood hauled by wagon from Flat Creek, the hall has, over the years, been a movie house, a box factory (during World War II), a dance hall, gymnasium for basketball games, and a theater for live plays.

According to an article by 1937 Dayville School graduate Ray Wyllie, the building's only heat in the early days came from a basement furnace through a grill in the center of the floor. Lighting came from gasoline lamps in cages along the walls.

On occasion, Wyllie wrote, a basketball would hit a cage during a game, causing the lamp to tip and start a fire, bringing the game to an abrupt end, while everyone fought the flames.

During movie showings he added, attendees kept out of an area, behind the projection booth and under a window, at one end of the hall. At times the highly-flammable film caught fire, the only quick solution being to throw the burning film out the window to the street.

For nearly a century the hall survived these harrowing near-disasters to host local events and, with determined efforts by the Dayville community, will stand to serve for many more years.

For more information about the renovations or to make a donation, contact Dayville City Hall at 541-937-2188, or e-mail at (dville@ortelco.net).

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