The Center was built in 1921 as the Brooks Memorial Methodist Church. The building was built with the idea of being not only a place of worship but a place where people could meet and hold business or social meetings. The Brooks Memorial Building included a gymnasium, public restrooms, and a banquet room with a full-service kitchen.
In 1971, the Marshall Civic Foundation was formed to purchase the Brooks Memorial Building. They changed the name to the Marshall Civic Center and began a campaign to renovate and update the facility. The building was subsequently sold to the City of Marshall and housed the Marshall Recreation Department and the Marshall Civic Players.
In 1998, the city of Marshall determined that the Civic Center must be updated to meet current fire and safety codes. A bond proposal to renovate the Civic Center failed by 66 votes. The narrow loss did not dissuade a large group of Marshall citizens who believed that the Civic Center was important to the community, and founded the Marshall Civic Center Trust (MCCT).
MCCT originated in November 2000 as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization whose mission is to preserve, renovate, and maintain the Center for the cultural, civic, and social enrichment of the City of Marshall and surrounding communities.
The Marshall community and its neighboring cities have entered an exciting new era with the opening of this unique fine arts center, now known as the Franke Center for the Arts. The Franke Center serves as a gathering place for artists and the community, a place where creativity is celebrated and nurtured. This downtown center unites the many diverse aspects of these communities providing a home for the rich history of local art, a showcase for first-class entertainment, and a superb facility for business development.
In 2016, the Refresh the Franke project was completed. The Objective: To create a premier and versatile multi-use facility that gives a positive, memorable experience by updating the technology and bringing the building’s decor to an Arts & Craft style of the era in which it was originally built.
- meet the needs of the theater and music audience’s listening experience by refining acoustical installations
- eliminate auditorium noise issues by updating heating and cooling systems
- incorporate today’s technology by updating and relocating sound control systems
- take advantage of the latest energy efficiencies by installing multi-use LED lighting
- enhance lighting behind stained glass, including the dome, to show the brilliance of the colors
- create a newly designated light booth at the rear of the balcony
- install custom-built Arts & Craft display cases for secure longer-term art exhibits
- refresh and update paint, plaster, and floor coverings
- highlight the building’s architectural features using a historic color palette
- update heating and cooling to more efficient and comfortable systems
- implement recommended roofing repairs
- remove and update all outdated HVAC and electrical systems