The Klinkhart Hall Story . . .
The historic Klinkhart Hall building occupies a unique place in the history and culture of Sharon Springs. It is an imposing two-story, brick building constructed around 1885 by George Klinkhart on the site of the former Empire House Hotel, which had burned in 1884.
Originally, the building housed Klinkhart's Hardware Store and the Post Office on the first floor; a tin shop operated in the basement and an opera house was located on the second floor. A millinery shop replaced the Post Office sometime between 1904 and 1909. Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the second floor was used to hold public dances and large parties
A fire gutted the inside of the building in 1911 (killing Mrs. Klinkhart when she returned to retrieve the cash register) but it was quickly rebuilt. In 1913 the building was purchased by the Masonic Lodge, which used the second floor for its activities. From 1917 - 1924 the basement housed a garage business, which displayed model-T Fords in the first floor shop windows. In 1925, the first floor and basement were converted into Smalley's Movie Theater. The movie theater remained active until the 1950s. Since then, the first floor has remained vacant, while the second floor continued to serve as the Masonic Lodge until the 1990s. After that, the upstairs served briefly as a dance studio before the building became vacant.
The Masons sold the building to a business consortium in 2007, and this group donated the building to the not-for-profit Klinkhart Hall Arts Center, Inc. at the beginning of 2016.
Now Klinkhart Hall is ready for its next chapter. Even as we attend to the building, we are already sponsoring events and building relationships with the local community, schools, businesses, and other organizations in the region.
With the ongoing revitalization of the village and the increasing vitality of the region as an arts and tourism destination, the development of Klinkhart Hall as a center for the performing and visual arts has the potential to play a pivotal role in the cultural and economic advancement of the region. Work has already begun!