ABOUT KEARNEY COMMUNITY HALL
"The purpose of the Kearney Hall Board is to restore and operate the
Kearney Hall for year-round community use by current and future generations."
July 30, 2012 Kearney Community Hall Board
The existing Kearney Community Hall was constructed by a group of locals in the early 1950’s, on a sliver of land next to US Highway 87, owned at the time by a nearby rancher, Karl Hepp. It’s south of Story just off of the Interstate 90 Piney Creek Exit, in Johnson County, Wyoming.
The structure is a 40 by 80-foot concrete block building with a framed wall separating a meeting room and old-style kitchen on the south 20 feet. The old wood dance floor is solid as can be, roughly 40 by 60 feet. There is a big beautiful fireplace on the west wall, and a small wood stage on the north end. The landscape backdrop is mostly undeveloped rangeland and hay meadows with a few scattered ranch buildings. Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site is about a half mile away to the west, and the Big Horn Mountains beyond that about 4 miles. It is a gorgeous setting with a rich and fascinating history, and easily accessible.
A U.S. Post Office was established at the nearby community of Kearney (not “Kearny”) in 1881. The current Hall was reportedly the third ‘Kearney Hall’ in that community. The other two evidently were not adequate to meet needs. This Hall was constructed and managed by a local club, and used for dances, reunions, weddings, socials, Christmas programs, voting, receptions, homemaker club meetings, card playing, livestock organizational meetings, 4-H and FFA, county extension programs, and other community and recreation events. It was a hopping place.
But eventually the Kearney Hall club organizers grew old, moved away, could not justify repairs, or passed on. Utilities were shut off and all maintenance ceased. Last used in the early 1990’s, the Hall fell into sad disrepair. It had been shut down, locked up, and for practical purposes, abandoned. By 2011 the original roof was leaking badly and beginning to ruin the dance floor, windows were broken, critters were making a mess. But the place was still salvageable.
Then in 2011 a group of locals organized. They began to spread the word, raise money, recruit help, and to restore the structure and its function of serving the community, which has demonstrated such a need. The Kearney Community Hall Board had its first official meeting on July 30, 2012.
It is the intent of the Board to restore and resume use of the building as it was originally intended for the benefit of the community.