October 14, 1961 THE WAR CRY Page Nine
Hempstead Citadel Dedicated
New Two-Story Building And Auditorium Officially
Opened By Commissioner French In Exciting Service
Thanksgiving day came early this year for comrades and friends of the Hempstead, N.Y., Corps!
It came on Sunday, September 24, two full months ahead of schedule, when, amid unbounded praise and rejoicing, the aforementioned saw the new and exciting citadel opened for work and worship in a lively service of dedication conducted by Commissioner Holland French.
Held in the corps auditorium (seating capacity 250), only the first three or four hundred people (hardy souls who counted not their lives and limbs dear) were able to shoehorn their way in for the afternoon exercises. What happened to the rest deponent knoweth not. But quite obviously all who did manage to squeeze in without mishap were overjoyed at what they beheld and were quick to demonstrate their pleasure and to add their own solid and substantial contribution to the general jubilation of the hour.
None, however, was happier on this festive occasion than Commissioner French himself. The response of his emotional Geiger counter was instant and impressive. The moving spirit behind the project from the very outset, and knowing full well that for the past three years the corps had suffered grievously by reason of inadequacy as well as “invisibility,” he was undoubtedly the “rejoicingest” individual on the premises.
“This is one of the most delightful experiences of my entire Salvation Army career,” he declared in a capital dedicatory address. “This event is important to the organization certainly. But it is equally important to the community for what it represents in the way of service in the weeks and months and years ahead. For with these fine facilities we can the more efficiently and effectively minister to the poor, the lowly, the loveless, the hopeless, the discouraged, the distressed, the peculiar, the habitbound, to all kinds and conditions of men and women. Here they will find regeneration, re-creation and soul refreshment. Here, too, will come boys and girls, young people in their formative years, who will find new patterns for life. All, young and old, will discover herein kindness, courtesy, concern and compassion.
"We are genuinely pleased with these facilities. We accept them with grateful hearts. We accept the mandate of the people of this community who have such sturdy faith in the Army. I now declare this building open for service unlimited and religion undefiled.”
Bringing warm and heartfelt greetings on the occasion in neatly-wrapped, neatly-delivered congratulatory packages were Mayor William O. Gulde, Village of Hempstead; Norman E. Seversen, chairman of the Hempstead Advisory Board; George Textor, chairman of the New York State Advisory Conference; and Elston H. Swanson, chairman of the Nassau County Advisory Board.
Felicitous response was brought by the capable secretary of the Hempstead Corps Council, Theodore J. Carlson.
Colonel Edward Carey presided, while others who participated included Mrs. Commissioner French (Scripture reading); the architect, Walter Watson (presentation of keys); Major Frederick McCracken, corps commanding officer (acceptance of keys); Colonel Paul Carlson and Brigadier F. William Carlson (leaders of congregational singing); the Rev. Ralph M. Houston, pastor of the First Methodist Church (invocation); and Mrs. Major McCracken (benediction).
Adding immeasurably to the program were the grade A presentations of the New York Staff Band led by Captain Vernon Post. The ensemble offered a stirring program of preliminary music and, in the meeting proper, presented the selection “Sound Out the Proclamation,” while the Male Chorus set the mood for the Commissioner’s address by singing the number, “Bless This House.”
The new building (approximate cost $525,00 including furnishings), occupies a sizable chunk of land on the corner of Atlantic and Sealey Avenues (33,950 square feet of it, as a matter of fact) and is constructed of a variety of building materials (wood, stone, steel, brick, glass, concrete and Glasweld) integrated to produce on of the most striking Salvation Army structured in the entire Eastern Territory.
With a redwood façade (against a brick-faced backup) incorporating a number of vari-hued slot windows and an all-glass section of many colors extending the full height of the unit, the auditorium, reached via a wide strip of bluestone flagging and an entrance set in natural stone, is 32 feet high, 42 feet wide and (including platform) 68 feet long. It is supported by laminated arches which run from floor to roof and which blend perfectly with the expansive wheat-toned ceiling. Over the side aisles a skylight section of glass and aluminum assembly is employed.
The commodious platform is back-grounded by a large stained glass panel featuring, in a stained glass section of contrasting colors, Sallman’s well-known Head of Christ, the gift of Corps Treasurer Sydney Wade, and Mrs. Wade, in memory of their parents. On either side of the platform proper are blue strips of wood (battens) of various widths and depths which add a novel decorative effect. A large one-way vision window in a second-floor nursery makes it possible for mothers with children to “attend” the meetings. Blonde oak pews, blue carpeting, plenty of illumination (fluorescent and incandescent) and other features make this unit the very heart of the building, an inspiring center which by its very setting invites and encourages reverence and worship.
Back of the auditorium is a court—32 feet square, two-stories high, glass-enclosed and open to the sky. Bluestone flagging covers the ground with ample space left for plants and shrubbery, all of which makes it an ideal venue for a variety of corps activities particularly in the warm weather months.
Also on the ground floor is the gymnasium, 44 feet wide, 73 feet long and two stories high of concrete block construction. Vinyl asbestos tile covers the floor, and the four sides of the unit to a height of seven feet are wainscoted with plywood. Separate shower rooms (with toilet facilities) for boys and girls as well as limited accommodation for spectators are provided.
On the ground floor also are offices, class rooms, a conference room, a Home League room, a kitchen and a band room, the latter easy of access to the platform of the auditorium.
Located on the second floor are a large young people’s hall, a primary class room, additional class rooms, a craft room, a general purpose room and a storage room, while in the basement can be found a woodworking and metal-working class room, a storage room, the boiler room and toilet facilities.
The building is heated by a circulated warm air system.
On the spot parking facilities for possibly thirty cars are provided.
In the morning Commissioner French was the speaker at the First Methodist Church, with the Staff Band providing music. Here, too, Colonel Carey spoke in an earlier service.
Meanwhile, at the corps, Major and Mrs. Richard Atwell conducted the holiness meeting at the conclusion of which those in attendance, joined by the entire Sunday-school, marched to the new auditorium for a brief but impressive service of rededication.
At night a crowd which nearly filled the hall enjoyed a bright happy salvation meeting presided over by Colonel Carlson. Colonel William Maltby delivered the message. The Staff Band again provided the music and, as an added feature, presented a half-hour festival following the service. Several seekers knelt at the Mercy-Seat.
On Friday the Manhattan Melody Makers were heard at four high schools in the Hempstead area. Approximately 3,500 palm-pounding pupils at Uniondale, East Meadow, Herricks, and East Rockaway High Schools gave enthusiastic response to the spirited repertoire of the blue-clad bandsmen.
William Miller, Jr., vice-president of the Long Island Lighting Company and vice chairman of the Nassau County Advisory Board, was the host at a luncheon served in the LILCO Cafeteria. A stalwart supporter of the Army’s program on the island, Mr. Miller took time out from the arduous business of restoring light and power to countless homes following Hurricane Esther’s capricious caper the day before.