RICE -- For nearly 80 years, the Rice Village Hall has been everything from the city council chambers to a dance hall.

Though, while it stands in the heart of the community, the history of the building remains a mystery for local historians.

Mary Ostby is the Executive Director of the Benton County Historical Society. She says the hall was built in 1938 and commissioned by the Works Progress Administration as a way for residents to learn new work skills after the depression.

"At its time not only was it a quality space with quality work done, but also was probably a real big since of pride for the community because it was so versatile," says Ostby.

Ostby says for as old as the building is, the records and information they have about the building's history are limited.

"We had newspapers that were transitioning at the time it was built, and so those newspapers from 1938 with most of the information available are not in existence as far as we know," says Ostby.

Today the iconic city building remains locked, but is rented out from time to time to churches and other events.

Ostby says they are always looking for more information on the building to continue preserving it's history for years to come.


(Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)