The Sturges-Young Auditorium opened in 1955 to fanfare and celebration. The 986-seat multipurpose facility was much larger than would be expected for a small community like Sturgis. Spurred by private donations, the city began construction of the building in 1954. Fort Wayne architect A.M. Strauss provided the Modernist design. Major contributors included the building's namesakes Clara and Stella Sturges and Emma Young, each of whom stipulated in their wills that funds be used for the construction of a civic auditorium. The venue has hosted many famous musicians, comedians, and public figures. On March 22, 1974, bandleader Duke Ellington (1899-1974) gave his final performance here, two months before he died.