Built in 1872, Harlan Hall served as the town’s opera house, with a stable on the first floor; it later served as a Moose Lodge. After being threatened with demolition to become a parking lot, the building attracted the attention of local advocates who pushed for saving it. The City purchased the building in 1999 (with the help of a state grant) to restore the building and turn it into a community center; Marshall also received a grant from the Illinois National Road Association, with the intention of creating a Welcome Center on the second floor.
In addition to the grants, the project was largely funded by local fundraising efforts, including the “Buy a Seat” program to purchase new tables and chairs, and one $100,000 donation from a local business. Over 25,000 volunteer hours were put into the building’s preservation. The building now hosts a variety of community organizations and events, from a senior citizen lunch program to the high school prom.