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Days Gone By

Editor's Note: The Historic Preservation Commission is doing research on the old city hospital building (Ingram Center) and requests that anyone having interesting stories contact the group by calling Marge Stokke at 425-5141.

Now long the location of Parks and Recreation Department, the same area in Ingram Center was once known as the "Hall of Game," designed by and for youth, with support from the community and City Council. It was a very popular place for kids to hang out.

On Jan. 15, 1979, the "Hall of Game" Youth Center officially opened in the old city hospital building with Pete Cernohous named full-time director with a salary of $700 per month. Cernohous, 25, has a major in physical education a minor in health and coaching and is working on his master's degree in safety education. He views himself as "kind of a big brother."

Scott Stokke was president of the Youth Board that ran the center. Other board members included Kevin Mittelstadt, Boyd Huppert and Kay Matthys.

Descriptions included: "The center, located on the second floor of the old hospital building is quite large. There is a pool room with tables for bumper pool, regular pool and foosball. There is also a large room with many tables for sitting around talking or playing cards. There's a carpeted T.V. room, a special room filled with pinball machines and some private rooms where meetings can be held.

The Scouting groups will be meeting there and other youth oriented groups in the community are invited to contact the center for scheduling."

Hours set were 3:30-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3:30-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Stokke's long range hopes were that the youth center would become "a center for all activities for youth in River Falls. A place for kids to go for counseling, amusement and plain fellowship with peers."

"Several advantages this youth center will have over previous ones are that the city donated the center so there is no financial burden. It is centrally located. It is a nice place, very spacious with lots of windows and not stuck in a basement somewhere. It has a full time director, yet it will be run by the students, and that is important," explained Juvenile Officer John Dinkel.

Ann Marsolek, daughter of the Morris Marsoleks, submitted the name "Hall of Game" for the center and received a $25 certificate for her prize.

Professional artist Dave Markson and student Sue Larson painted murals on the walls at no cost.

Submitted photos are always welcome for this column. Black and white or color photographs will be scanned and returned in original condition with photo credit given.

Call Pat Hunter at 425-1561, for more information or e-mail your photos to