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Von Braun Center

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In 2000 The Von Braun Center celebrated it's 25th anniversary. As the Von Braun Center begins a new century we look forward many more anniversaries serving Huntsville and the surrounding area.

Huntsville has long been blessed with citizens of great talent and industry. Time and time again these citizens have stepped forward to share their expertise in leadership roles of great responsibility. They served for no personal gain but were motivated by a sense of community service and the desire to enhance the quality of life in our community. Many of Huntsville's finest amenities are the direct result of the prodigious effort of these selfless individuals. The airport, public library, Huntsville Hospital and the botanical gardens are results of this kind of leadership. The Von Braun Center is no exception.

In the early 1960's certain members of the community felt that Huntsville could do better than the meager arts facilities then available. Martha Rambo affiliated with the Symphony, Elvira Glover of the Art League, Martha Hamm with Community Chorus, Dexter Nielsen of Little Theatre and others began to voice the need for housing and performance space for the arts. City Attorney Charles Younger and Councilman Joe Peters embraced the cause. Charles Younger got the idea to fund the arts by way of a liquor tax. Contact was made with the Hanes family of Winston-Salem where a successful Arts Council had been created. Huntsvillians traveled to Winston-Salem to observe, and Art Hanes was invited to Huntsville to advise. As a result the Arts Council was born. The Public Building Authority made the old West Huntsville School available for an Arts Center. Arts Council members were careful to refer to it as the "temporary" Arts Center lest opposition to the project consider that building permanent.

Imagine the City of Huntsville without the VBC. Local theatre productions were presented in the auditorium of the old West Clinton School at the corner of Church and Clinton Street. Broadway Theatre League and the Huntsville Symphony played at the Huntsville High School Auditorium. For rock and country music, one could enjoy the ambiance of the Madison County Coliseum which could seat approximately 2,000 people. For elegant banquets the Russell Erskine Hotel and the Dunnavant's Mall (now Medical Mall) were the premier choices.

The collective desire for a cultural center gathered momentum. In 1965 the first step from dream to concrete took place. The Public Building Authority under the direction of Nathan Porter contracted with Booz-Allen-Hamilton to make plans for a civic arts center. The original concept was for a large and small theatre, exhibition space and an art museum. Three prominent recommendations of this study were that a civic advisory board be established, the site should be downtown and most importantly that a large arena style auditorium would be essential for the long term success of the facility.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation:
Mon8:00 AM5:00 PM
Tue8:00 AM5:00 PM
Wed8:00 AM5:00 PM
Thr8:00 AM5:00 PM
Fri8:00 AM5:00 PM
Notes: None Listed


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