The Miner's Institute Building was built in 1918 by the local coal mining
unions, as a labor temple. The keystone was laid by the Kirtch
Architectural firm on October 12, 1917. Each miner donated 1% of his
salary for one year to the construction of the building. Total construction
costs were about $90,000, in comparison a three bedroom home at the
time was $3000-$4000. The building was utilized by the unions as a
"home away from home". Meetings, entertainment, dances, relaxation
and a place to bring their families, this was the place you came to be with
your friends and co-workers. In fact, the Miner's shut down one other
theatre and an opera house in town, because other unions would only
support the Miner's.
Over the years, Miner's hosted High School Graduations, Dairyman's
conventions and other such events of the day, in addition to the
occasional movies being shown in the auditorium. Built in the
"vaudeville" style, the auditorium hosted several traveling troupes as well.
Bloomer Amusements bought the building from the Miner's Unions in the
mid-late 60's and operated the building as a 2nd run movie theatre until
it closed it's doors in 1984.
Placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 and under
the ownership of the Miner's Institute Foundation, years of neglect came
to an end. The early MIF board prevented further deterioration and
entered into a holding pattern. The current MIF Board has obtained a
Historic Structure Report, a kind of "road map" for restoration and is
moving forward to obtain funding for the restoration.
A Look Into the History of the
Historic Miner's Institute