Barberton social hall’s 100th anniversary celebration may have been its last

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BARBERTON, Ohio-- Two weeks after devastating flooding inundated area communities there is much left to do cleaning up.

Among the biggest casualties from the flooding might be a historic social hall that celebrated its centennial just one week before the flooding.

The Slovene Center on West 14th Street in Barberton has survived floods since it was built in 1919. Water from flooding in 2013 rose to about a foot and a half in the center's lower floor.

During this latest flood Clem Hornacek, who is on the Slovene Center's Board of Directors, said the water rose to chest deep.

"Everything was upside down. Some of it's straightened out. This is all destroyed. Now it's got to go," Hornacek said.

An eight-lane bowling alley in the building was destroyed, as well as a lower level bar and social hall.

On Monday a handful of people were still working to clear out what has been damaged with a tremendous amount still left to do. The losses still cannot be calculated.

Just one week before the flood the center hosted a centennial celebration with a live band and dancing. Through the years, Hornacek said there have been weddings and receptions, dances and celebrations in the hall.

"Bands from Cleveland used to love coming here, would tell us how much they loved playing in this hall," Hornacek said.

Dances planned for the summer will not be held.

Hornacek said he is afraid what might happen when he kicks on the air conditioning because the units outside the building were all under water.

"Funds are not good and I don't know what we are going to do yet... Everyone asks me... I guess I'mm the one who is supposed to give them answers, but I don't know," Hornacek said.

With bills to pay and the extent of the damage not yet fully assessed, it is possible that the centennial celebration could be the last dance ever held at the center.

It's going to hurt a lot of people. A lot of the older ones. A lot from Cleveland, from Canton came up here, from different places," Hornacek said.

Continuing coverage of the June flooding here

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