Sanders Gymnasium and Community Hall
A sense of community and a place to gather were essential in homesteading settlements like Sanders. In 1910, the area’s residents rallied together to build a club house on this site. Each donated $15 or its equivalent in labor, and the building, though crudely assembled, served for nearly thirty years. By the late 1930s, the club house was in disrepair. The Sanders School District wanted a facility that could double as a gymnasium serving Sanders Elementary School next door. A bond election secured funds and the old building was cleared away. Acclaimed regional architect John G. Link drew the plans while Billings contractor Steve Mercer won the bid at $3,500. The rustic exterior of rugged square-notched logs is a surprising contrast to the interior’s lofty ceiling of arched fir and polished hardwood floor. A basketball court, raised stage, built-in seating and state-of-the-art lighting reflected modern technologies despite a lack of indoor plumbing. A community dance christened the new hall and gymnasium on June 29, 1940. Sanders’ population began to dwindle and the school closed in 1948. It was later moved to Hysham, but the front gate and two-hole privy remain part of the historic landscape. The hall continued to host dances, reunions, receptions, school plays, and rousing games. Local residents, including descendants of area homesteaders, have carefully refurbished this well-loved place. Its unassuming presence is a shining example of grand things that can be found in unexpected places.