Friday, May 30, 2014

Throwback Friday: A Grand(in) Re-Opening

In the fall of 2001, Roanoke's last historic theater, The Grandin, a small neighborhood movie house in Raleigh Court, closed its doors for what many thought would be the final time. It showed "The Last Picture Show" as its goodbye performance.

The following spring, this group of people (being videoed at a press conference by the guy at the left) announced that an effort was underway to re-open the theater. In October, the money had been raised, the theater marquee was changed to its original design, seats replaced, facilities totally upgraded and a grand opening was held. The Grandin retained its old, popular popcorn machine.

The money was raised in a variety of ways, one of which was a matching $500,000 donation from the City of Roanoke (one of the best investments it ever made, judging from the number of businesses the re-opening helped create). Ed Walker, the president of the foundation at the time, announced the city grant to the board by saying, "City Council has just approved $500,000 on a unanimous 6-1 vote." The 1 in 6-1 Was Mayor Ralph Smith, who was against everything and was, thus, marginalized. He's now one of those members of the General Assembly whose only response to any proposal is "No!"

In the photo here are Walker, Bill Tanger, Nelson Harris, Ann Trinkle and Warner Dalhouse, all board members.

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