A Vision Realized
Sturges-Young Takes Shape
Long desiring a civic auditorium that could be used for multiple purposes, the City of Sturgis received generous estate grants from three different philanthropically minded women to make the Sturges-Young facility a dream come true.
In the early 1950’s Emma D. Young left more than $400,000 to the city expressly for the creation of a cultural center. Additional gifts from the estates of Stella M. Sturges Taylor and Clara M. Sturges, under the guidance of their trustee, Raymond Dresser, Sr., were combined to bring the project to fruition. The land was gifted from the Sturgis Public Schools to allow for expansion of its music and theater programs.
Ivan Adams façade sculpture featuring a lyre, lute, Greek comedy and tragedy masks, and microphone encircled with a reel of motion picture film.
Designed by prominent Ft. Wayne Architect A. M. Strauss, the Sturges-Young Center for the Arts is a mid-century modern architectural gem. The brick and limestone exterior’s clean lines and low profile exemplify contemporary simplicity. The striking façade features a large relief sculpture in concrete by artist Ivan Adams of Bloomington, Indiana, depicting symbols of classical and modern performance arts. Inside, the décor incorporates warm, natural elements that are a hallmark of mid-century style. These details have been preserved and restored over the years, maintaining a design aesthetic as appealing today as when it was first opened to the public in 1955 as the Sturges-Young Auditorium and Civic Center.
Distinct mid-century modern architectural details include limestone block, Roman brickwork, slate tile flooring, and red birch and cypress paneling.