Recently I met a retired teacher who had been involved in the restoration of the Huber Opera House in Hicksville, Ohio.
The building had fallen into disrepair, but through the efforts of retired tradesmen and students, a full restoration project was initiated. Eventually, the lights came up on the theater once again.
In Windber, I watched residents “bring back to grandeur” the Arcadia Theater.
The “before” pictures of the Arcadia were horrendous. It had been heavily damaged by the 1977 flood, but through extremely hard work, the theater was restored.
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This downtown showcase revitalized our community with shows for all ages. Recently, the theater was host to Santa and Mrs. Claus and a very large crowd of excited children, parents and grandparents.
This special visit to the beautifully decorated theater helped usher in the Christmas spirit for Windber as a not-so-cheery event was unfolding in Bellefonte.
With 700 signatures, 100 residents voiced their sincere desire to save and restore the Garman Theatre for the community to enjoy.
Far-fetched? Not at all. The Borough Council needn’t travel to Hicksville or Windber to get a vision of restoration success; they can “point and click” to review currently scheduled shows.
The decision against restoration for community use as a viable option saddens your neighbors to the south. Workforce housing can be built anywhere; historic theaters cannot.
History, good or bad, is made (and remembered) every day. Those who rallied behind preservation efforts of the Garman have my utmost admiration and respect.
William Koshute, Windber