182 North Central Avenue · 1911-1912
Richland Center City Hall and Auditorium (a.k.a. The Richland County Performing Arts Center) 182 North Central Avenue. Designed in a “modernized” Classical style by LaCrosse architect Percy Bentley, this red brick municipal building features an entablature comprised of a projecting cornice and modillion ornament placed on applied brick pilasters topped with Ionic capitals. Much of the impetus for the creation of this building originated with the influence of the Federated Woman’s Clubs. Women’s organizations flourished in Richland Center during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These organizations were the shakers and movers behind many if not most of the civic projects in the city.
After a number of tie votes were broken by Mayor Pearl Lincoln, the decision to build the first auditorium combing a theatre and municipal offices operated by a Wisconsin municipality became a reality. This was truly a grand building for such a small city. There are twelve dressing rooms and seats for nearly 1,000 people. It was described as the finest show house between Chicago and Minneapolis. Many first rate acts came to Richland Center because there were suitable dressing rooms and a sizeable stage for their shows to go on. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
The building was acquired in 2009 by the Richland County Performing Arts Council (RCPAC) for one dollar from the city of Richland Center. The organization plans to create a self-sufficient cultural and business center in the city of Richland Center that will strengthen the economic and artistic growth of the community. The RCPAC is embarking on phase one of the building renovation which focuses on the restoration and reconfiguration of the front portion of the City Auditorium. It includes a replica of the original canopy, interior lighting, and the front entryway, along with the development of a mezzanine lobby space that is historically appropriate and true to the buildings decorative art. Phase one will be followed by additional work that will eventually renovate the entire building. To learn more information about upcoming events visit www.rcperformances.com . The Richland County Performing Arts Council (RCPAC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to operating and restoring the first municipal auditorium built in the state of Wisconsin.
Even though restoration work is going on, RCPAC is committed to keep staging events throughout the construction phases. Check our events schedule at www.rcperformances.com regularly for what will be coming to the City Auditorium.