History of Memorial Hall
A bond issue of $300,000 was approved by a vote of the citizens in 1915 for the construction of the Pueblo City Hall and Auditorium. Memorial Hall was originally designed in conjunction with City Hall between 1916 and 1919 by Pueblo architect, William W. Stickney and New York architect, Godley and Haskell. Contractor C.S. Lambie constructed the buildings.
The building was dedicated on September 25, 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson at his last public address and was named as a memorial to those who died in “The War to End All Wars”, World War I. Memorial Hall is a rare and beautiful example of late 19th Century and early 20th Century auditorium design. It is one of the few representative structures of this period and type in the State of Colorado.
Performances at the Memorial Hall
Memorial Hall is notable for a number of singular performance events; It hosted President Woodrow Wilson’s final public address shortly before its official opening. Rafael Cavallo was the first symphony orchestra conductor at Memorial Auditorium and John Phillip Sousa was the first band concert performance. It is notable for the broad variety of performances it has provided for the regional community:
It has served as the anchor of the regional cultural community for more than nine decades.
There are many architecturally significant features in the auditorium. The proscenium is comprised of intricately detailed plaster ornament and includes two level-side boxes and grillage housing the historic Austin Orchestral Pipe Organ. The pipe organ, features between 4,000 and 5,000 pipes varying in size from a few inches to 32 feet in length and represents 62 different instruments.
The pipe organ is operational and played regularly. The organ is the third largest of its kind in the United States. A grand stairway and lobby with detailed ceiling panels, terrazzo flooring and marbled walls is shared by Memorial Auditorium and City Hall.