News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Stewart’s Hall closer to community venue status

The Mill City Odd Fellows continue to put the finishing touches on Stewart’s Hall to give Mill City its own community events venue.

Located downtown at 158 SW Broadway St., the Odd Fellows hope the 110-year-old building will soon be ready for a diverse array of gatherings, from live performances to community fundraisers to potential Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.

Odd Fellow Ken Cartwright said the goal is to create a community center-type space to make up for the lack of public meeting areas in town. Though the two-story, gray building may not look it now, Stewart’s Hall features thousands of square feet that may soon host large gatherings.

“The advantage of having this space is there’s more room for us to have major and minor events where there is no other place around to have it,” said Cartwright.

The Odd Fellows constructed the building in 1912 and it has hosted a number of tenants including the farming/logging/grocery store of prominent businessman Charlie Stewart, for whom the building is now named.
It currently houses Santiam Hearts 2 Arts, the Santiam Community Chorus and KYAC FM radio.

Cartwright is also a board member for Hearts 2 Arts and is the programming director for KYAC.

While the Odd Fellows have regularly hosted events at Stewart’s Hall, Cartwright said they wanted to open the space up to the community, which required various upgrades including electrical and accessibility fixtures. These main renovations are now complete, with plans in the coming weeks to add a new coat of paint outside and install signage.

Cartwright said $30,000 has been raised so far for renovations and another $22,000 is needed for completion.

Because work has come so far, the Odd Fellows have begun reserving space for future events, including arts and crafts market Art Mart and the KYAC Concert Series, both starting in September. This marks the return of both events, which were postponed in previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cartwright said having these events back will be “a rare opportunity to enjoy and celebrate the arts” in the Santiam Canyon, adding such cultural activities enhance livability in the area.

“These are just the beginning of many events for this area,” he predicted.

Cartwright said they also hope to host a Christmas in July event toward the end of July during which a yet-unnamed non-profit will auction off or donate various items from Amazon.com that the retailer was either unable to deliver or, which were returned and could not be added back into inventory.

The exterior of the building should be completed by this event, said Cartwright, though with volunteers taking on the work there is not yet a firm deadline. 

Cartwright said funding and volunteers for building improvements were possible in large part from Hearts 2 Arts, which has played a significant role in financing the project. The Community Chorus and KYAC are both part of Hearts 2 Arts.

Those interested in reserving space at Stewart’s Hall, or learning more about event opportunities, can call Cartwright at 503-507-2941 or email [email protected].

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