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For the week of May 16 through May 22, 2001

Carey City Hall facelift

Donations needed for auction on May 26

Express Staff Writer

When Carey purchased its new city hall building, the mayor, the city council and town residents knew they had work to do.

Carey’s city hall was once a dance hall and ice cream parlor on Wood River Road in the 1930s. It was then known as the Case Store. Photo courtesy of Vonnie Olsen.

Vonnie Olsen said she and others, including Mary Green and Bob Simpson, came up with the idea of an auction to raise money to refurbish the historic building.

That auction will be held at the Blaine County Fairgrounds on May 26 at 11 a.m. The fairground entrance is on Carey’s Main Street.

The building in its current location on Main Street was the Rock Shop, but its earliest life dates to the 1920s when it was located on Wood River Road (the road to the Little Wood River Reservoir).

Then it was two stories, had a basement and an addition on its right side. It was known as the Case Store after its owner Arthur Case.

In her research, Olsen talked to her mother-in-law Emily Olsen and long-time resident Orpha Mecham.

She found that the addition was an ice cream parlor and, of all things, the top floor was a roller skating rink with a hard wood floor and skates to rent. In the basement, dances were held, and, to the concern of some Carey citizens, alcohol was served.

Olsen said her mother-in-law remembers when the place first got electricity in the 1930s. The building was lighted by gas fixtures up until then.

Some work has already begun on Carey City Hall. An awning that was once over the entrance to council chamber on the right side of the building has been removed. Work has begun to lay a concrete entryway to make the chamber ADA compliant. Express photo by Peter Boltz

When the building was moved to Main Street, why and by whom has so far escaped discovery by Olsen despite enlisting the help of Carey neighbors such as John Adamson. Nor does she know when the building lost its ice cream parlor addition except that it happened while it was still on Wood River Road.

Olsen learned that in 1958, when the Case Building was at its Main Street location, the building’s owner, Stan Dilworth, had the second story removed.

This, what is left of the Case Building, is what the city has to work with for a city hall, senior center and community center.

A study by Basolo Engineering, commissioned by the city council, says the building has the flexibility to be all those things.

Of a total of 2,240 square feet, the study says, nearly 50 percent of the building is unused. The council uses the 620-square-foot meeting room and the city clerk uses the room in the back as an office.

The building already has a kitchen, which the study says can be used to reheat meals for Carey’s seniors that come down from the Blaine County Senior Center in Hailey. The kitchen can also be used for food preparation when the building is used as a community center.

Besides being a place for seniors to share meals, the study says, the building has more than enough room to accommodate stretching and exercise classes for seniors.

Olsen said Carey’s Catholics will be able to use the council chambers for religious worship. In that case, the kitchen area can be used for communion preparation.

The study says the building also has room for a secure space for the planning and zoning administrator, where the city can also file its maps and documents and house equipment, including its copy machine.

The study says the building has enough room to provide the city with a secure office area for its planning and zoning administrator. That area would also have room for filing maps and city documents and to house office machines such as a copier.

Olsen and the other auction organizers don’t know how much money to expect on the 26th, nor do they know how much the total remodel is going to cost. They just know they want to help remodel their city hall so city taxpayers won’t have to pay.

Olsen is asking those who want to donate something to the auction, or who want to set up a food booth, to call her at 823-4330. Donors and volunteers can also call Mary Ann Hennefer, 823-4537; Joe Dilworth, 823-4102; Mary Green, 823-4685; or Bob Simpson, 823-4589.


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