Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Downtown Hollister Historic District: The Veterans Memorial Building

The Veterans Memorial Building, at 649 San Benito Street, is a local landmark. It is also another contributing building in the Downtown Hollister Historic District.  This handsome two-story building was dedicated on November 11, 1927, nine years after the Armistice was signed between Germany and the Allies to end World War I. Over the years, the Veterans Memorial Building has been used for various governmental, community, and private events, from town hall meetings to public concerts and private weddings and birthday parties.

Made of reinforced concrete, the Veterans Memorial Building is divided into three bays, with the center bay being twice the size of the side bays. The porch, or portico, of the center bay, is supported by two side piers and four eight-sided columns. Several gorgeous rounded windows and three arched entrances are protected by the portico's roof.

Jane McClosky Wapple was the person behind getting the building constructed. In 1923, she proposed the idea of establishing a building to honor the military members of San Benito County who died in World War I. To raise construction funds, Mrs. Wapple and her friends held a horse show at Bolado Park, which brought in $14,000. By the way, that horse show, which she called the Spanish Fiesta, became the start of the annual San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and Parade.

Mrs. Wapple was a very interesting person in Hollister history. If you'd like to learn a little more about her, check out this article, "Sweet Jane Wapple," written by Martin Cheek in the Gilroy Dispatch.

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