The Club was built by the DuPont Company in 1918 as a Y.M.C.A, to serve as a cultural and recreational center for its Barksdale Works employees and the Washburn community. After only a year, the building became known as The DuPont Club. The Club housed a gymnasium which offered a basketball and shuffleboard court, as well as gathering spaces for social functions, and a four-lane bowling alley.
With operations at Barksdale Works winding down, the City of Washburn accepted DuPont’s offer of the building in 1961 to continue to serve as a community center. The Club housed numerous entities and activities including the 1980 USA Ski Jumping Team, temporary high school facilities, multiple concerts, public dances, and holiday events, just to name a few.
In 2007, the City of Washburn conducted a condition assessment of the building. The inspection report notes that, “With adequate renovations and remodeling, the Washburn Civic Center can once again become a functional asset to the community.” Citing dwindling financial resources, the Washburn City Council voted to close The Club for good in 2009. A grassroots effort saved The Club from an ill-fated vote to demolish this building, rich with historical significance and community pride.
Jim and Mary Nowakowski purchased the building in 2010, which protected The Club from demolition until adequate support and funding could be assured. In 2013 to ensure it’s future, the Nowakowskis formed the Historic Civic Center Foundation (HCCF) and donated the building to the foundation.
2019 marked the beginning of the newest era for The Club. A group of strong-willed Washburnites, along with many local volunteers, began working on restoring and updating the facility. Main floor projects for the state-required occupancy permit were completed in 2021.