The Old City Hall was built in 1918 at 725 Central Avenue & Eighth Street. It was designed by architect William L. Steele and was built for around $20,000. The building was to be used for the city offices, fire and police departments, and as an auditorium for community events. In 1981, the city offices were moved to the Train Depot building at the south end of Central Avenue, leaving only the police department and office space for Mid- Sioux Opportunities. They moved out in 2003 so the building was vacant.
At a city council meeting held in July of 2006 it was decided the city would begin the process of tearing down the 88-year-old building if a tenant could not be found within one year. The cost of demolition at that time was estimated to be between $90,000 and $100,000.
The city offered prospective buyers $100,000 in grant funds to be used to restore the structure to an approved level if the buyer invested an additional $200,000.
With no one coming forward with a workable solution, the building sat empty for several more years. In October of 2011, the Historical Society stepped forward and asked to be given a year to come up with a plan of action. The group has been working to get the building into a usable shape since that time.
William C. Page, Public Historian, from Des Moines did the research and filing to get the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Architect Ed Storm of FEH Associates in Sioux City, came up with design and renovation plans. Over the years the building had been used for a movie theater, dances, weddings, roller skating, community dinners, sports events, and assorted holiday festivals.
To finance the renovations the Historical Society held two online auctions, a car show and a Tour of Homes. Funds were also received from both public and private grants. In addition to spending over $200,000 in restoration, the Society has also received many hours of free labor from many volunteers in the community.
Extensive work has been done to restore the exterior to its 1918 appearance. The building’s brick exterior has been tuckpointed, window openings were restored to original size, new windows and doors were installed where needed and some windows were restored and painted, the fire escape was refurbished, and the roof was repaired. Interior work has mainly been demolition of old remodeling and asbestos abatement.
On June 1, 2020 the Old City Hall was sold by the City for $25,000. The Historical Society is very proud of the work we have done on the building to get it to this point. See pictures of the transformation below. The Society’s main objective has always been to save and restore the Old City Hall. This we have done with donations, local funding, grants, and the help of the many volunteers who worked on the demolition and restoration. Thanks to all who have been a part of this project.