Clinton Memorial Hall
It is not necessary to wear fancy dress when you enter the Clinton Memorial Hall, although many people have chosen to do so.
The Clinton Memorial Hall was built in 1920 to provide a larger venue for the Clinton Annual Ball as well as other community activities. The Ball first took place in 1868 and was held at the Clinton Hotel. This event set the tone for future events, an on-going tradition of fancy dress, dignitaries, feasting, dancing and socializing. People travelled from all over the area, their visits to Clinton extending over a period of days and weeks of festivities. Considering that the first few balls were held in winter and travel was by horse and carriage an extended stay made sense. Planning for this occasion started early, as it does today. Women ordered their gowns well ahead of time, some from Paris, New York and San Francisco, a cultural center during the 1860 gold rush days. Local seamstresses and tailors were in demand.
The building of the Memorial Hall was largely a volunteer effort strongly supported by the returning First World War veterans. The decision was made in summer of 1920 that a larger center was needed to accommodate the crowds attending both the Annual Ball and other community events. By September that same year the lot was purchased and the Hall was built in time for the fall horse race meet and rodeo. Lumber was special milled at Botterill’s Mill, the only local operation. Botterill the owner did the mill work at no charge. Volunteers went into the forests to cut the logs and into the mill to saw and plane the wood. Purchases of nails, windows, doors, hardware and wages for the supervising carpenter came from generous money donations given by those who were unable to donate their labour. A plaque resides within the Hall to those 20 young veterans lost in the First World War.
The Hall has undergone several series of renovations. Of note is that its famous spring floor, a suspension system designed to provide light bounce to ease dancers’ feet is still in place. The current incarnation retains the fine maple flooring, probably the third resurfacing of the floor.
In 1969 the Village of Clinton took ownership of the Hall and property. The Village Council held offices in this building until their September 2000 move into the Government Building on the Cariboo Hwy. In recent years renovations implemented by the Village Council have included an updated commercial kitchen, acoustic paneling to improve sound effects and a big screen television used for community events such as the recent 2010 Olympics. When the United Church closed in 2012 it donated its piano, an appreciated gift as the preceding one was worn out.
After more than 90 years of use the Clinton Memorial Hall is still ready to open its doors for dances, town hall meetings, funerals, weddings, art shows, Halloween parties, community dinners, tea parties, and fundraisers. The gift of those long gone war veterans continues.