History of the G. C. Rann Auditorium
Destroyed by Fire in March 2023

The G. C. Rann Auditorium, was housed on the second floor of the Wise County Heritage Museum and maintained by the Wise County Historical Society, Inc. It was a historic and fully restored auditorium. It began as the chapel and lecture hall for the students of Northwest Texas Baptist College which became Decatur Baptist College (DBC) and was used from 1893 to 1965. When the Wise County Historical Society, Inc. acquired the building in 1967, the once-beautifully appointed auditorium had become frayed, ragged, and worn with birds living in the attic above it.

A past student of DBC, Mr. George Cleo Rann and his wife, Maurine (VanMeter) Rann, upon their retirement from teaching at various Wise County schools, became interested in making a “Little Theater” in the auditorium. Mr. Rann became the chairman of the “Little Theater Restoration Committee” and started to coordinate what they called, MUSIC EXTRAVAGANZAS, using local and area talent and charging a nominal fee.  They collected enough proceeds to help restore the auditorium to its original beauty.  Through donations from area businesses, individuals, and DBC alumni and a grant from the American the Beautiful Fund, the “Little Theater” was christened the G. C. Rann Auditorium.

After restoration, the auditorium was utilized for pageants, concerts, singings, plays, meetings, and various entertainment venues through the years. It was a place of great pride for the Wise County Heritage Museum, Wise County Historical Society, Inc. members, and the entire community and was a tragic loss due to the March 2023 fire.