This Hall I speak of is in a small city in Northeast Tennessee called Kingsport. I don't live there anymore, but its interesting.
Their first hall (that I am aware of), was a second floor shop in the old downtown area (which, like so many other downtown areas in little cities in America, is dying). They outgrew it, and after they left, it burned, leaving only the brick shell edifice. That was, I suppose back in the sixties. They got others, I am sure, in the interim.
The one I remember first being born in the 70s and all, was a Kingdom Hall shaped more or less like a house. I don't think it followed any particular plan, and it may have actually been a house to begin with. It had windows, but they were frosted over. It had very little parking, so on busy days, people had to park on the street, which annoyed the neighbors. It had a small business to one side of it that made, of all things, caskets. On the other side was a cornfield. This hall also had a seperate sound room, which was nice, as my brother got to do sound AND smoke the occasional joint without anyone bothering him. The sound system itself was a bit odd. It picked up Citizen's Band radio from time to time, and often a prayer or song was interrupted by truckers cussing about "Smokey". This hall was decoreted with carpet which looked like tang mixed with vomit, but the chairs (taken from an old movie theatre) were upholsterd in green vinyl.
Anyway it came time to get a new hall, even though attendance was actually down because.. well.. hmm. Parking was a problem. Fair enough. Everyone voted to get a new hall, except for one sister who no one argued with because she partook of emblems and had a belligerant bully of a son who also wasn't argue with because it was believed that he was mildly retarded. So the Hall was sold. But, in the meantime, no new hall had been found, and donations based on pledges, did not come in. At one point a local needs talk consisted of an Elder reminding folks that a pledge was legally binding. The congo had to meet at the hall of another congo 20 miles up the road whose BOE did not always get along well with their own. The Memorial was held at a Ramada Inn banquet room, however.
This went on for three years. Life was sad. To the rescue came the local city government. The city, you see, had a fine old Presbyterian church which was on the National History Registry. The city had been deeded it at one point, and had lent it out to the local playhouse. But the theatre group had found a better venue, so now it sat sad and dormant, sitting exactly at the dead-center of town. They had an idea: A Church For a Congregation For A Congregation Without a Church. Niceley offered it to the Jdubs for a dollar if they agree to keep it in its historic condition.
But.. well.. it had a steeple. A steeple would not do at all. Does it say anywhere in the Bible that Jehovah loves steeples? The BOE asked if they could remove the steeple off this lovely old building. "No" came the reply. So they did not buy the beautiful history chuch for $1.00. The $1.00 went back into the building fund.
But Jehovah came to their aid. A local land developer needing a
tax write-off to do good works for humanity gave the congregation some nice creekside land. Ok, it was a floodplain. Who new? And right beside a particularly not-nice government housing project? That's ok. We witness boys got to play some very muddy football on our personal Torrent Valley while the donations slowly trickled in. Eventually they built the hall, and all was well, apart from the mud, and the risk of flooding, and people from the Projects coming over across the creek to steal things from cars all the time.
The old hall that was abandoned had been sold, of course. To the casket shop. It was used to store coffins for quite awhile, I think. They don't need parking. Recently I was back in town, and suprised not only to find that old building was not only still around, but was looking much as it once had, only now it had been sold once again, this time to some other church.
I wonder if they got it for $1.00.