The Cobb Memorial Auditorium at the Urbana High School is part of the original building constructed in 1913, and was designed by local Urbana architect Joseph Royer.
Originally, the auditorium featured about 400 wood seats (including those in the balcony), hard-wood floors, leaded-glass windows, and wood wainscot throughout. Many of these features can be seen in the diagram above. Note that a large portion is not included in the diagram, as indicated by the vertical, jagged lines down the middle.
The photograph above shows the auditorium as it originally appeared. According to alumni, the prominent center aisle was especially useful for Christmas programs. Lighting for the house was supplied by large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The doors at the back of the house can be seen in detail on the Architectural Features page located elsewhere on this website.
In the 1950s, the auditorium, as well as the rest of the school, sustained renovation work. All the original chairs were replaced with wooden chairs that were not as decorative, but had flip-up desks so that the space could be used as a study hall. The wainscot, too, was replaced with less decorative wooden panels, and the hard-wood floor was covered with a tile floor.
Renovations in the 1970s called for the removal of the center aisle (because it was "not required by fire law"), removal of all wainscot, replacment of all the chairs with plush, fabric covered chairs, and covering of the floor with brown carpet and tile. In addition, the windows were covered by large panels that were designed to improve the accoustics. The new paint scheme appeared as it does in the photograph.
In the total renovation of the 1980s, the auditorium was repainted, the acoustic panels were removed, and the balcony was partially enclosed to create a properties storage room. The fabric covered chairs and the brown carpet remain.
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