Saturday, June 10, 2006

Douglas' Grand Theatre renovation proceeding

[Source: The Daily Dispatch] -- Next time you drive by or stroll down G Avenue, you may notice a buzz of activity around the old Grand Theatre generated by the renovation efforts of the Douglas Arts and Humanities Association (DAHA). This diverse group is composed of local community members, who have been working on the restoration and refurbishment of this grand, historic theater. The Grand Theatre has been approved for a federal grant for $346,000, for which DAHA must raise matching funds. The feasibility of restoring the Grand Theatre to its former glory is guaranteed if all restoration phases are completed.

The restoration benefits will be felt not only culturally with movies, concerts, and live performances, but with an influx to the Douglas economy of visitors, tourism, shopping and lodging. Currently, DAHA is sponsoring its annual 4th of July Raffle. The winning raffle number will be drawn on July 4, 2006. [For details, visit their special website.]

The Grand Theatre opened in 1919. It was considered to be the largest and most beautiful theatre between Los Angeles and San Antonio. Ginger Rogers, Pavlova, and John Philip Sousa, to mention just a few great artists, performed on stage at the Grand. Originally it also housed a Tea Room, candy store, and barbershop. The Grand was the site of many stage productions, movies and Douglas High School graduations. This aging dowager of theatres has fallen on hard times over the years, having a collapsed roof due to plugged gutters and massive interior damage from the water. In addition to being listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Grand is also on the local "Endangered List" of Historical Buildings that need immediate attention.