Unity Hall History
Unity Hall was built in 1896 with funds raised by the women of the
Unitarian Church of Barneveld. It
seems they were tired of holding all the church functions in their own
homes. Through ice cream socials and other means they raised $1,700,
because if they were going to do this thing “they wanted to do it right!”
The building quickly became not only a center of activity for the church,
but the entire community.
During the 1940’s, the
Layman’s League, a fore runner to the Rotary Club, used the Hall
extensively. Dinners were put on every month, and Unity Hall
hosted a variety of social activities over the next couple of decades.
The advent of television in
the late 1950’s decreased the number of evening events people went out
for. Use of the Hall for community events declined and the building was
dark for extended periods between church functions.
Unitarian Church member George Landecker became determined
to bring the Hall back to the center of community
life that it had once been. When George set his mind to something it
always got done. He found allies in other longtime residents,
recruiting village historian Betsy
Beil Mack and Edward Hinge to form the Unity Hall
Foundation, a not-for-profit organization formed with the goal of
reviving Unity Hall.
A major restoration of the Hall was undertaken with guidance from
Landecker, Mack, Ed and Bill Hinge, Mary
Rebecca Ferris and Marietta von Bernuth. In 1995, with
the building even more splendid than the day it first opened, Unity
Hall reopened to the community.
The Unity Hall stage sprang back to life - hosting performers from around
the corner and around the world. Opera, Classical, Folk, Rock, Jazz,
Blues and Bluegrass artists filled the hall with music and appreciative
audiences. Plays and musicals were staged, along with dances,
exhibits and lecture programs. Unity Hall was once again a center
for community activities.
the winter of 2000, a ruptured pipe in the heating system caused a
leak that seriously damaged not only the floor of the second floor theater
and portions of the walls and ceilings on the first floor, but also
stained the beautiful woodwork of the second floor walls and the theater
area's arched ceiling. Fortunately the damage was discovered and
contained in time to avert a catastrophe. Thanks to an effective
response and good insurance, the hall was soon back in good order.
Unity Hall continues
to serve as a regional center of community life; hosting concerts, recitals,
dramatic performances and many private functions including wedding
receptions and the like. 114 years old and still going strong!
Recently, the foundation secured a grant to upgrade the kitchen by
obtaining a commercial grade, high capacity convection oven, a 6 burner
cooktop and a high volume commercial dishwasher. The new equipment
and a revised kitchen floor plan will greatly improve the kitchen, making
Unity Hall an even more enjoyable place for banquets and receptions.
We encourage you to join
friends and neighbors that support the hall by becoming a member of the
Unity Hall Foundation. Members receive advance notice of upcoming
events, discount admission to most events, discounted rental rates for
private functions and a number of other benefits. Get more info and
a membership form
We look forward to seeing you at Unity