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Fohs Hall Inc. President Urges Support for Improvements to Historic Venue

Fohs Hall was established in 1926 by notable petroleum geologist and Marion native, Ferdinand Julius Fohls.
Alan Stout
Fohls Hall, Inc.
Fohs Hall was established in 1926 by notable petroleum geologist and Marion native, Ferdinand Julius Fohls.

Fohs Hall in Marion, Kentucky, was established in 1926 by Ferdinand Julius Fohls. It has served the Marion community as an elementary school, high school, civic center, and community auditorium.

Fohs Hall Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to the maintenance and operation of Fohs Hall, is embarking on a restoration project to replace the sound and lighting system first installed in the 1980s. Fohs Hall Inc. president, Alan Stout, speaks to Tracy Ross about the historic venue and its upcoming renovations.

Besides being a nearly 100-year-old landmark of the Marion area, Stout explains that he also has sentimental attachments to the building.

"I attended elementary school in Fohls Hall from first through fourth grades. My father and mother both attended high school there. I remember my father telling me the first time he ever saw my mother was swinging on the front door of Fohs Hall. It goes back a long way."

"I've been on the board of Fohls Hall Inc. since we formed the corporation in 1981 and took title to [the building] in 1982," Stout continues. "I served as the president of the corporation for the last 25 years."

"While we are committed to using the building as a performing arts center, it's still an old, aging building. Any building that old has challenges. The project we're focused on now is installing a new sound and light system."

Fohs Hall Inc. received a project proposal from a Hodgenville, KY-based company that does the sound and lights for the Kentucky Jubilee, Stout explains.

Stout says that the Kentucky Jubilee country, bluegrass, and gospel formers would "have a good draw in Marion, Kentucky. A number of these acts will come, but they don't want to have to bring and set up all their equipment."

"If they could come and just bring their instruments and not have to bring a support staff for their own equipment, it makes the venue much more appealing to them. The equipment we're having installed is going to be very user-friendly for groups and acts coming in."

Stout encourages anyone who has attended an event, function, or school at Fohs Hall to consider donating to the project fund. "We're at about $20,000 of our $50,000 goal. We feel very good about reaching our goal."

Stout says Fohs Hall Inc. aims to have the new lighting and sound system installed by November for an event called the Kentucky Hayride. "It's been wildly successful," he says. "It's already sold out."

To make a financial contribution to the Fohs Hall restoration project, you can mail a check to Fohs Hall P.O. Box 1, Marion, KY, 42064 or contribute online through Fohs Hall Inc.'s GoFundMe page.

Tracy started working for WKMS in 1994 while attending Murray State University. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU he was hired as Operations/Web/Sports Director in 2000. Tracy hosted All Things Considered from 2004-2012 and has served as host/producer of several music shows including Cafe Jazz, and Jazz Horizons. In 2001, Tracy revived Beyond The Edge, a legacy alternative music program that had been on hiatus for several years. Tracy was named Program Director in 2011 and created the midday music and conversation program Sounds Good in 2012 which he hosts Monday-Thursday. Tracy lives in Murray with his wife, son and daughter.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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