Oelwein prepares for updated Coliseum - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oelwein prepares for updated Coliseum

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OELWEIN (KWWL) -

An eastern Iowa staple gets a new lease on life with a fundraiser set for New Year's Eve.

Back before social media, there was social interaction.

Before sharing stories on Facebook, people actually shared experiences in places like the Oelwein Coliseum that included spending time with friends, weekend dances, and even falling in love.

The Coliseum was built in 1928, and it was initially a dance hall with a bowling alley downstairs.

In 1973, organizers hung up their dancing shoes, and the building became a furniture store for several years, and it was later turned into a church.

After sitting in disrepair, options for the building included turning it into storage space or demolishing the structure.

That's when Oelwein Area Historical Society President, Dave Moore, decided to give the old building a new lease on life.

"It's going back to what it originally was. It's going to be interesting to see the clientele. It's going to be really fun," Moore said.

Moore said people have been sharing several stories including first dances and even meeting their spouses.

"I've had people come in with tears, I've had lots of hugs. I had one lady walk me all over the place, and she wouldn't let go of me," Moore said.

Funded mostly on donations, Moore said repairing and rebuilding the project hasn't been easy, but it's been a rewarding process.

"I had people tell me when they first come in, 'no donations until I see some progress.' They come in a month or two later, and they write me a check, so that feels good," Moore said.

From the beginning of February, Dave says he's spent countless hours repairing the Coliseum's floor, quite possibly one of the biggest wooden dance floors in the state of Iowa.

"It's going to be an interesting situation. We have lots and lots of people who really give us good comments, and they're looking forward to New Year's Eve too," Moore said.

Moore said they plan to hold a fundraiser with a hootenanny on New Year's Eve between 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. to help with more repairs.

If you'd like to donate, you can send money to Post Office Box 445 in Oelwein, Moore says all funds are tax deductible.

Dave said the Coliseum official Grand Opening is set for sometime in March.

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