By Stephanie Yost
Idyllwild Community Center board president
The Idyllwild Community Center (ICC) is delighted to announce that the major renovation of Idyllwild’s Town Hall is now complete. ICC plans to hold a rededication ceremony and community-wide “Open House” with tours, food, music and fun once state and county COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings are lifted.
As a brief history, the foundation for the original Town Hall was poured on Dec. 5, 1946, and thereafter a volunteer crew led by local grocer Harold Sanborn worked every Friday for months to build the two-story 4,000-square-foot building, located at 25925 Cedar Street.
Town Hall, which stands on land donated by the Johnson Family, was dedicated on July 10, 1947, and for many years, was operated by the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce. When the chamber dissolved several years ago, Town Hall reverted to the Johnson family, who put it up for sale.
The property was purchased on Aug. 16, 2019 by Idyllwild Town Hall LLC, a corporation formed by Loie and Dave Butterfield and Tom Hawthorne for the purpose of acquiring and renovating the property. They then donated Town Hall to ICC to operate for the benefit of the mountain communities. The renovation project began on Oct. 14, 2019, and ICC took legal possession of the property on July 31, 2020.
The purchasers made significant efforts to preserve many of the building’s most charming features, including the original Town Hall sign and the beautiful stone fireplace and chimney.
The new owners also took into account ICC’s future planned uses of the property, including the expansion of ICC’s existing recreational and social programs, the Sunday Farmers Market and monthly Feeding America pantry box distribution, expanded programing for kids, families, seniors and visitors, outdoor concerts, indoor theater performances, enhanced child care services, as well as making the property available for weddings, conferences, meetings and other rental uses and events.
This renovation project was inspired and led by Shane Stewart, the broker of Idyllwild Realty and a licensed general contractor.
The project was implemented using all local Hill vendors, including Terry Griner of Griner Construction and his crews, Keith Smith of Harold K. Smith Excavating and Materials, Steve Holldber of Idyllwild Heating & Cooling and Larry Donahoo of Village Hardware.
Notable upgrades include a huge outdoor stage and outdoor yard lighting, new building exterior and chimney cap, new windows, flooring, insulation and walls, new air conditioning and upgraded heating, a remodeled downstairs child care area with covered entry access, upgrades to the indoor theater (including backstage areas and modern sound and lighting capabilities), a restroom on the main level, an expanded front foyer and parking lot and updated kitchen appliances in both the indoor and outdoor kitchens.
Idyllwild Gardens (owned and operated by Eva and Ken Gioeli) kindly donated many of the plants and the watering system for the refreshed front garden.
Although the interior of Town Hall is not currently open, even the view of the exterior and outdoor stage shows the incredible care and attention to detail taken in the renovation of this historic property.
As everyone on the Hill will soon see and appreciate, no expense was spared in remaking Town Hall into a fabulous focal point for residents and visitors to our mountain communities for many decades to come.
On behalf of everyone, ICC is extremely grateful to Louie and Dave Butterfield and Tom Hawthorne for their tremendous generosity and vision in preserving and enhancing Idyllwild’s Town Hall.