History of the Building
The American Legion Hall was built between 1937 and 1938 under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and is significant for its association with President Franklin Roosevelt’s legislative agenda to stimulate a devastated economy and boost community morale during the Depression. Since its construction, the Hall has served the community of Eads and the surrounding area as an event venue. Located at the southwest corner of the Kiowa County Fairgrounds in Eads, it is still utilized during the annual Kiowa County Fair. It is a rare surviving example of a simple, vernacular building constructed by the WPA using recycled building materials in its construction methods. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 as part of a multiple property listing for the New Deal Resources on Colorado’s Eastern Plains. The American Legion Hall has served the community for well over 80 years, both during the Fair and for special events, and is one of the only community halls in the area.
The American Legion Post 125, owners and operators of the building, are pursuing a preservation plan for the building so that once again it can serve the community as a main gathering space. Currently, the building is deteriorated and used much less frequently, which has reduced the annual rental income of the Hall. It is this deterioration and lack of use that prompted the need for a preservation solution. In 2008, a historic structure assessment determined that the building is in generally good condition and though it has not been changed much over time, it is in need of substantial improvements to improve community accessibility and usage. Elements such as the foundation, floors, shutters and windows, roof, heating, plumbing and electrical systems need to be further investigated to determine how to best approach preservation treatment and project phasing, which will be done through a thorough building analysis and the development of construction documents. The primary goal of the American Legion is to preserve the original historic character of the Hall while at the same time updating it so that the building can once again be utilized for its original purpose – the main community building for the County.
The project is supported by the State Historical Fund, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, and the American Legion Post 125.