The Liberty Theater Historic Preservation Final Phase of Restoration
We are so close, and we need your help!
Our beautiful Liberty Theater is excited to announce the beginning of the Final Phase of restoring this "Grand Old Lady". Your ongoing community support of this huge project, which began in 1998, has been extremely successful in bringing us to where we are today and now we can all set our sights on the finish line. To place the "icing on the cake", we need your help again and we have secured a great new partner to accomplish this task. The Ford Family Foundation has just notified us that they would like to offer the Liberty Theater $75,000, to help with our Final Phase, if we can match it dollar for dollar with community donations. When we combine Ford Family Foundation's extremely generous offer with the "matching efforts" of the likes of Astor East Urban Renewal, The Collins Foundation and Oregon Community Foundation, it makes for a GREAT team and an unbelievable opportunity to get a "huge bang for our local bucks".
Here is how it works:
Because of the opportunity provided by our "matching" partners EVERY DOLLAR INVESTED LOCALLY BECOMES FOUR DOLLARS toward our Final Phase. For example, if you give a $25 tax-deductible donation to the Liberty Theater, it is leveraged into a $100 bill. Likewise a $100 donation becomes $400 and a $250 gift becomes a $1,000 investment to our beautiful theater. What an opportunity we have been given. And, your gift is completely tax-deductible as we are a non-profit organization.
The Before Photos!
The McTavish Room used to look like this!
Former site of Maddox Dance Studio looking north
South West corner hallway and former photographer's studio
Across from the former Maddox Dance Studio also looking north
Where your money would be invested:
We are raising money to restore the second floor area along 12th Street and around the building along Duane St. The area slated for renovation upstairs along 12th Street will become a large room, which can be broken down into three smaller rooms with movable walls. The room(s) will be used for conference breakout rooms, theater related rehearsal rooms, smaller less costly meeting rooms and classrooms. There will be a full catering kitchen, and restrooms with associated changing areas. In addition, the upstairs area along Duane Street will become two commercial office spaces which when rented will provide additional revenue to offset operational expenses.
To make a donation:
Donations may be mailed or dropped off to Liberty Restoration Inc., 1203 Commercial, Astoria; taken over the phone in the Liberty Box Office 503.325.5922 Ext. 55 (open Tues-Sat from 2-5 pm) or contact Executive Director Rosemary Baker-Monaghan at Ext. 33 for assistance or to answer any questions you may have. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This project will:
• Improve the economic vitality of the downtown area.
• Provide the space for additional cultural activities for residents and visitors.
• Provide needed break out space for conferences and moderately priced and flexible meeting rooms. It will make the Liberty Theater the central hub for conferences coming to the North Coast. We become a conference destination and continue our role as an economic driver and the heartbeat of the renovation of downtown Astoria.
• Classrooms - one recent example, the Uganda Children's Choir performed an evening concert, but needed classroom space-for-the-day prior to the concert to do their school work. This proposed renovation would have served this need and opens the door for The Liberty to grow their educational enrichment programs and eventually hold "institutes" with other partners.
• Rehearsal Rooms - are needed for current events at the theater, for example the Astoria Music Festival needs rooms for musicians to warm up and rehearse and solo artists need rooms to prepare. These rehearsal rooms would also be available at a modest price, for local musicians, dance classes and visiting/local artists to hold workshops with local school children.
• Finish connecting the back infrastructure of the building together with the front infrastructure as part of our preparation/stabilization for an earthquake.
• Solve issues of access to the roof for maintenance of the building, and
• Enable us to finish sealing the roof to repair existing leaks.
"Lower Columbia Tourism Council, a marketing arm of the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce has been working with The Liberty Theater and other local businesses to develop an "Open Conference Center Concept." We are building this "our whole city as a conference center" based on the model used in New Orleans which has been received with great enthusiasm. With the Liberty's ability to house 665 people for a Plenary Session in the auditorium space and the McTavish Room able to accommodate #175-200 people for receptions and breakout areas, it goes without saying that the Liberty is central to this project. When we combine the Liberty's capacity with spaces at the nearby Columbia River Maritime Museum, Banker's Suite, The Hotel Elliott and The Loft in the Red Building at the Port, the result is an experience which is "not your regular, never see the light of day, stainless steel and plastic" conference center. It is instead, an opportunity of which we can be proud. Our conference guests can stay at hotels on either end of town, ride the trolley to any one of our venues and rather that spending the entire conference inside one building, our guests will get to experience the beauty, culture and "pure character" of the Astoria-Warrenton area. They will be encouraged to dine in our wonderful restaurants, tour our local attractions and even do a bit of shopping. Since we began this cooperative multi-venue concept, we have tripled our conference business." The Liberty Theater's proposed extremely flexible second floor project will take us to the "next level" with additional and necessary, smaller break out spaces. This means that we will be able to facilitate the larger sized conferences in excess of #200 people.
- Skip Hauke, Executive Director, AWACC
Most importantly, this project will increase our financial sustainability, which will allow us to expand our theater cultural events and educational enrichment programming.
"It is extremely importance for arts organizations to develop methods to provide income that will support future cultural programs. The Liberty Theater is working strategically to develop methods for building our own longterm financial sustainability. The Second Floor Renovation Project will increase our revenue stream allowing for future cultural activities. Although donors have been generous, the recent recession showed us that fundraising alone can be difficult during hard economic times."
Thank you so much!
Executive Director Liberty Restoration Inc.
2002 Restoration Accomplishments
• New restrooms were built on the second floor.
• Wiring was extended from the new transformer and panels in the basement to most distribution panels throughout the theater and office and retail locations. Wadsworth Electric did this work.
• Clay tile was restored to the outer portions of the roof. Solum Roofing of Knappa did this work.
• High atop the walls of the auditorium is a cove, from which lights illuminate the ceiling and the entire house. We installed state-of-the-art interior lighting, which is called light-emitting diodes or LED.
• The renowned lighting craftsman George King Associates, Inc., restored the chandelier at the center of the ceiling. During a January visit, The ornamental plaster rosette around the chandelier was restored and painted, and the entire ceiling was cleaned and painted as well.
• A portion of the western wall of the auditorium was cleaned, restored and painted, and all 12 of the Joseph Knowles paintings were cleaned.
• A new fire detection system and exit lighting were installed.
The acquisition and restoration of the Liberty Theater complex is expected to have a direct impact on 50,000 people in Clatsop and Pacific Counties. This includes children in area school districts as well as visitors and local residents.
Completion of this restoration is expected to have a dramatic impact on economic development in downtown Astoria, serving as a magnet for commercial activity and professional firms.
According to James M. Hamrick, Jr., Deputy of the State Historic Preservation Office: "Rehabilitating this key property will provide a positive example for other building owners, an environment conducive to new businesses, and a reason for residents and visitors to come downtown."
The restoration of the Liberty Theater Complex is crucial from an historic preservation perspective, as well. Outside of Portland or Salem, there is no other 1920s vintage motion picture palace in Oregon with so much of its original decorative architectural fabric intact.
School children in four local school districts will have an unparalleled venue for arts enrichment and education, as well as a theater in which to showcase student productions. The Liberty will also enable an array of active performing arts programs during school vacations as well as internship opportunities for high school and college students.
Finally, the successful completion of this restoration will enable the continuation and growth of existing performing arts activities, as well as attract new cultural performances to benefit tourists and residents alike.