Mr. Benjamin D. Riegel, the owner and founder of the mill in Ware Shoals, determined the workers in his mill and the citizens of Ware Shoals would benefit from the creation of an entertainment hall in the town. The work on the facility began in 1912 and was completed in 1913. The official opening day was November 3, 1913.
The building was very modern for the time period, including indoor plumbing which was uncommon in most buildings. Katherine Hall had water fountains and male and female showers. Mill workers could use the shower facilities after a long day of work. There was also a gym facility that surpassed any in South Carolina, comparable to ones found in Atlanta. The auditorium seated 500 and hosted plays, live entertainment, and movies. The town's civic clubs were housed in the building. There was also a kitchen with a dining hall where many groups enjoyed social events.
Katherine Hall was such a luxurious facility, when completed, that many of the traveling entertainers marveled at its beauty and proclaimed that none in the Piedmont of South Carolina could compare. Mr. Riegel was so impressed with the building that he named it after his only child, Katherine. Katherine Hall truly was "The People's Palace".
Over the years, Katherine Hall continued to be a hub of activity, hosting famous entertainers such as Roy Rogers and Tex Ritter. The building also had other forms of entertainment, including visits from Santa. At one time, a teenage canteen was housed in the building. In the 1980's, the Senior Center was located in the ground floor for the enjoyment of the town's senior citizens. It is safe to say Katherine Hall has constantly adapted to meet the needs of the citizens of Ware Shoals.
Riegel Textile Corporation, the company that owned the facility, deeded it to the town upon its incorporation in 1967. Today Katherine Hall is in need of major repairs, standing only as a reminder of the once prosperous days when the mill ran the community. Talks have surfaced about the restoration of Katherine Hall, but no work on the facility has begun. Hopefully, this wonderful monument built for the citizens of Ware Shoals by Mr. Benjamin D. Riegel can be preserved for our future.