The Columbian Foundation, Wamego, Kansas, purchased the Rogers Building (c.1895) in 1989 with the expectation of restoring it to use as a community center for a large variety of activities. Originally built as a community hall in which six 11’ x 16’ allegorical paintings from the 1893 Columbian Worlds Fair Exposition in Chicago were displayed, it was later converted to a movie house until closing in 1950. The lower level had always been in use under various retail functions.
The Columbian Foundation has retained a meeting/gallery space emphases on the first floor while providing reception and theatre spaces on the second floor. The restored paintings serve as a focal point for this portion of the restoration. Complete stage reconstruction with theatrical and dinner theatre support space complete the facility along with all new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
This project has been a feature presentation at the 1997 National Restoration/Renovation Conference in Chicago, Illinois and at the Kansas Preservation Alliance Annual Conference in Leavenworth, Kansas in 2000. It has also been published nationally on several occasions. This project is celebrating its 25th anniversary of completion in 2018-2019.