A birthday party for a building? Perhaps this is not commonplace. Yet as you learn the story behind the grand place, you might just understand why.
Once upon a time, the town was Athens. Yes, we had an Athens in Nebraska before 1889. Then that post office became University Place in honor of Nebraska Wesleyean University which had been founded the year before. Fifteen years later (in 1914), they decided this primarily Methodist town needed a new town hall building.
For 12 years, this place was the central hub, guiding the proud citizens of University Place, Nebraska, in matters of civic responsibility. According to the building’s current occupants,
The two-story building housed the fire and police departments as well as all city offices with an auditorium, council chambers and fire department day room.
The town grew and became a bustling place of 5,000 people. Nearby Lincoln took notice and annexed them in 1926.
What to do with a building that was the city hub for a town that no longer exists? Well, the building has served various purposes including a fire station and a restaurant. Until in 1985, when it was purchased by Gladys Lux.
Now this lady has quite the history of her own in the community. For forty years, Lux had brought her appreciation and abilities in the arts to Nebraska Wesleyean and the University Place area. She must have been a fascinating woman – I enjoyed reading her story on the Lux website. Her vision was to bring a community arts building to this section of town that she loved so well.
So University Place Art Center began in 1977, and then moved to its current location in 1988. The old city hall was again servicing community citizens for the greater good. Eventually the center took on the new name, Lux Center for the Arts, in honor of the woman with a vision. Gladys Lux was the one who noted that “there is an artist in everyone.”
So to celebrate this place of community that existed in University Place, before the city of Lincoln itself was even part of the equation, is fitting.
Lux Center for the Arts is having a big birthday celebration THIS Sunday June 1st from 1:00 to 4:00. Yes, cake and ice cream is most definitely involved. This will be a part of their annual summer Community Arts Celebration. You will not want to miss this event. Especially the opportunity to become your own part of the University Place City Hall history.
P.S. A little later on today, I plan on giving you a sneak peak into one of their current exhibits whose theme relates to this website!