Civic Center 1939

A crowd lines up for the 3 p.m. children’s matinee of the “Ice Carnival Revue” — the first public event at Presentation Hall — March 9, 1939, the day after the hall’s dedication. The program describes the event as “presenting outstanding figure skaters of the Northwest under the direction of the St. Paul Figure Skating Club.”

The cornerstone to Presentation Hall was laid July 28, 1938 — exactly 80 years ago today.

Until this month, no one had seen it for decades. A renovation of the space — renamed the Dr. Charles H. Mayo Presentation Hall — restores the original outside exterior of the historic performance and gathering space.

“The timing is really nice,” said David Eide, senior construction manager at Mayo Clinic.

“This hasn’t been seen in decades,” said Matt Dacy, director of Heritage Hall, the Mayo Clinic museum.

Presentation Hall has hosted famous performers and musicians, sporting events, political rallies and plays. Liberace, Johnny Cash and Duke Ellington have all graced the stage.

“This is a crossroads of the community,” Eide said.

Dacy will curate an exhibit for the restored building front in the adjacent Mayo Family Foyer, formerly the McDonnell Foyer, outside Presentation Hall. Monitors will display vintage event posters on the facade.

“You’re going to have this vintage feeling,” he said.

Other items associated with visitors, performers and events will also be on display.

“This will be vivid with artifacts,” Dacy said.

“This is going to be a living exhibit,” said Donna Drews, executive director of the Mayo Civic Center.

Many of those artifacts were in storage at the Civic Center, Dacy said.

“We had these things up in our junk room,” Drews said. “David and Matt were so excited to see them.”

Dacy said he wants the public’s help to round up items that weren’t in the junk room. He is hoping to locate a Rochester Mustangs hockey stick, tickets to past events and the identities of people in a photo from March 9, 1939, in which people are lined up for the 3 p.m. children’s matinee of the “Ice Carnival Revue.”

Any items such as tickets, posters or programs will be handled with care, scanned and returned to the owner, Dacy said.

“We want the community to feel they have a role here in sharing our history,” he said.

Anyone with artifacts (or a Mustangs hockey stick) they want to share with the display can contact Dacy at:

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General Assignment Reporter

John joined the Post Bulletin in May 2018. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2004 with a BA in Journalism and Japanese. Away from the office, John plays banjo, brews beer, bikes and is looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter “b.”