If you have gone past or into the Memorial Building during the past several months, you have seen evidence of the upgrades happening there. This fine Art Deco-style building always receives compliments from visitors. Peter Hyduke, Director of City Services, and the entire staff of the Memorial Building are to be congratulated for continuing to maintain this wonderful place.
Since our current Memorial Building was opened in 1936, (the previous one having been destroyed in a devastating fire) it has housed countless events and been home to many organizations. People probably quickly associate it today with sports like hockey or curling, but it also houses the Hibbing Historical Society Museum — in the space where the bowling alley once existed, veterans’ and seniors’ organizations, and city offices.
The following article from the Hibbing Daily Tribune, January 28, 1967, recounts work done at that time to keep the building fresh and useful for Hibbing.
~ Mary Palcich Keyes
One of the best and most important public assets Hibbing has is its Memorial Building.
It was put into operation in 1936 — 31 years ago — and has been widely and profitably used, especially the Memorial Arena, which can accommodate ice skating, hockey games, ice shows, basketball games, boxing and wrestling shows, circuses, etc.
Wear and tear of time has taken its toll on the building, but in recent years it has been steadily upgraded.
This past year considerable work has been done on the arena, more is presently being done and still more is being planned.
Approximately $3,600 was expended by the Village Council during 1966 to install new vapor lights over the center of the arena, vastly improving the lighting system for both players and spectators in all sports.
Started during 1966 and about 50 percent completed at this time is a project of eliminating a total of eight exit ramps — four on each side of the arena — to provide approximately 400 more seats.
When completed, the renovated arena will seat from 4,700 to 5,000 for hockey games and 6,200 for basketball games. Remaining exit ramps — four on each side — have been painted a bright yellow.
A building, or arena such as Hibbing has, which can compete in size and facilities with most any community for any type of attraction, still isn’t quite enough with today’s automobile parking problems.
But, that also has been taken care of. This past year the Village made a deal with the school system to relocate the Memorial Building playground to the Alice School. That project increased the Memorial Building parking facilities about 40 percent, providing parking space for close to 200 more cars. The parking area, with “supervised parking,” can now accommodate for 400 to 500 cars.