The historic Palace Theater in downtown Silverton celebrated a grand re-opening Friday after repairs were made to the fire-damaged building. The building was constructed in 1935 and has been in business ever since.
"We didn't want to do this project. We were happy with the theater as it was," said co-owner and Silverton Mayor Stu Rasmussen. "But this has given us the opportunity to make this the best small-town theater on the planet."
The interior of the building was destroyed by fire in April. The flames were mostly contained to the concession stand and lobby, but smoke from the fire lingered and settled on almost everything in the building. Most of the outer walls were spared because they were built of concrete. Crews spent the last five months making repairs and retrofitting the interior.
"The list of things that need to be done is almost as long as the list of things that have been done. But they're very small items that don't affect the operation," Rasmussen said.
The official grand opening" was held Friday night. Theater owners opened the doors starting at 4 p.m. for self-guided tours. Then the doors reopened at 7 p.m. for the first showing in the newly renovated theater. The Odd Life of Timothy Green was screened.
A portion of the admissions went to the Silverton Volunteer Fire Department. That organization also receives the total amount of a "Save the Palace" fund, established by a local citizen a day after the fire.
"Part of the history of this town is this theater," said customer Novella Erickson. "We love coming here. The popcorn is out of this world! They use real butter! You don't get that anywhere else."
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