It took three days of activities to officially dedicate the Pratt Municipal Building in March of 1930.

On March 10, the Council of Clubs hosted a reception and open house, followed by musical and theatrical entertainment. A banquet was served to 610 diners on March 11, with 1,000 spectators enjoying entertainment from the balcony.


Dedication
It took three days of activities to officially dedicate the Pratt Municipal Building in March of 1930.
On March 10, the Council of Clubs hosted a reception and open house, followed by musical and theatrical entertainment. A banquet was served to 610 diners on March 11, with 1,000 spectators enjoying entertainment from the balcony.
The principal speaker, Sylvester A. Long, president of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, remarked that restless people build great cities and “the curse of every city is its healthy, unburied dead,” according to The Pratt Daily Tribune, reprinted in Dorotha Giannangelo’s “Did You Know — Stories of Pratt County Kansas.”
The American Legion and the Lions Club sponsored a dance on March 13 and a basketball tournament had already been scheduled for the end of the first week.


Backstory
Following World War I, the State of Kansas legislated that buildings to be used for community purposes could be erected with public funds upon a favorable vote of the people, if they were designated a war memorial. A proposal, following these guidelines, was defeated by voters, following too closely upon the successful bond election for the new Liberty High School in 1920. The school auditorium and gymnasium were used for community activities, but within a few years it became obvious that facilities were being overtaxed, and city offices were outgrowing their space on Main Street. On Nov. 6, 1928, voters accepted a mill levy of 1.7 to raise $98,000 for a new community building. Construction began in January of 1929 and the building was completed in March of the following year.

Dividing the spaces
From the lobby, one turned to the right to the Chamber of Commerce office or to the left to the city offices or went straight ahead to the auditorium. The large kitchen connected to both the Chamber rooms and the auditorium. The auditorium included a large orchestra pit directly in front of the stage. Dressing rooms were in the basement.
The second floor contained club rooms, which could be separated for two meetings or joined for one large one. The police department, an apartment for the building custodian and waiting and storage area for the volunteer fire department were also located on the second floor.
The city jail was on a partial third floor of the building.
Then, as now and for at least a few more months, fire trucks and equipment were housed in the east side of the building.


For the community
The Municipal Building was planned as a convention center, in the proximity of the Calbeck and Briggs hotels and the new Roberts Hotel going up on the other side of the block at about the same time.
It was the home basketball court for Pratt High School and Pratt Junior College for several years, and the Harlem Globetrotters played there.
Formal charity balls were held there from the 1930s until the beginning of World War II, to benefit a fund for parents who could not afford milk for their children.
During World War II, the USO took over the second floor and hosted dances in the auditorium about every month.
A new auditorium floor was installed after a Shrine Circus elephant fell through. The Miss Kansas Pageant was held there from 1955 until 1984, when it moved to PCC.