Williston’s Old Armory Winds Down Its Hundredth Year

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Williston’s Old Armory is looking good for its age.

The building was built in 1915 and dedicated in 1916. Originally a training facility for Company E, its first public event was a homecoming for soldiers returning from the First World War.

“It was built with that mind. Also a community building where they have many functions from car shows to flower shows,” says Diane Hagen, the Old Armory’s office manager. 

Over the years, the building evolved into a venue for public dances, known as “teen canteens”

A $9000 jukebox can be rented from the facility to replicate the good old days.

“Oh, yes. Every Tuesday and Friday or Saturday nights, junior high got it until 9:30 and then senior high would come in and we had chaperones,” says Hagen. 

The building has withstood the test of time and even an attempt to tear it down. Given the Old Armory’s rich history, there are rumors that the building could even be haunted.

“Mostly it is wind kind of things. But the building is old, of course there’s going to be pockets of wind,” says Hagen.

According to one tale, the ghost of a soldier still guards this staircase.

“I think that would be kind of cool if we had a soldier guarding the Old Armory. I think that’s-I could believe that one,” says Hagen.

Haunted or not, the Old Armory is alive with vivid memories from the past, now fused with events and times of the present.

The building is part old, part new.

And very much a part of Williston.

In 1985, Williston’s Old Armory was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The city-owned building now functions as a performing arts and entertainment venue.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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