The Sheldon Memorial Hall 100th Anniversary
Ethical Society of St. Louis
Sunday, October 7, 2012, the Ethical Society of St. Louis members met
at The Sheldon Memorial Hall, the original home of the Society, for the
landmark building's 100th Anniversary.
The Sheldon Memorial Hall,
named after Walter Sheldon who founded the St. Louis Society, was
designed by the noted 1904 World's Fair architect Louis C. Spiering and
opened its doors in 1912. Speakers such as Margaret Mead, Thurgood
Marshall, R. Buckminster Fuller, Norman Cousins and Martha Gellhorn have
spoken from its stage and the St. Louis Chapter of the League of Women
Voters was founded in The Sheldon's Green Room. The day after music was
first heard in The Sheldon, the headline in the St. Louis Globe Democrat
declared: "Acoustics found perfect." Musicians and music loves have
been enjoying those perfect acoustics for 100 years and The Sheldon
Concert Hall has been called "The Carnegie Hall of the Midwest."
When the Ethical Society relocated to St. Louis County in 1964, concert programs continued and the Society also used the facility as a community center for social action programs such as job training. From 1973 to 1984 The Sheldon housed two different gospel churches and outside promoters began presenting concerts of jazz, blues and folk music. In 1984, Eugene Golden purchased The Sheldon, and began restoration of the hall. The non-profit Sheldon Arts Foundation was formed in 1988 and purchased the facility in 1991 to preserve the venue as one of St. Louis' important cultural resources.
Today The Sheldon is the site of over 350 events each year including great jazz, folk, and classical music in The Sheldon Concert Hall. Artists such as Dave Brubeck, Diana Krall, Josť Carreras, Herbie Hancock, Doc Watson, Joan Baez, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, B.B. King, Wynton Marsalis, Judy Collins, Renee Fleming, and many more have performed at The Sheldon. In addition, The Sheldon presents a wide range of educational programs for schools, Matinee Concerts for families, Coffee Concerts for seniors, and Sheldon Sessions and Ballroom Concerts for college students and young professionals.
The Ethical Society of St. Louis celebrated with a special platform presented by Leader Kate Lovelady and past Leader Ron Williams entitled "Sheldon Memorial 100th Anniversary: A Dialog Between Past and Present." We explored what we today have in common with Ethical Humanists of a century ago, as well as how our views and language have changed over the years.Visit The Sheldon Memorial Hall website for its 100th season and experience the lovely acoustics yourself.