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Boone places successful bid on Appalachian Theatre

Article Published: Dec. 15, 2011 | Modified: Dec. 15, 2011
Boone places successful bid on Appalachian Theatre

It’s official: The town of Boone is in possession of the deed on the Appalachian Theatre on King Street.

Community organizers met last Wednesday to talk about the theater and discuss the next step for the historic property. It was standing room only, with Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson, legendary flat-picker Doc Watson and representatives from Appalachian State University’s theater and dance department among those in attendance.

Organizer John Cooper applauded the town’s winning $624,000 bid on the parcel, saying a landmark has been saved.

In addition to preserving Boone’s history, saving the theater would respond to a community need, he said, adding that with the impending closure of the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, there’s an increased need for community spaces.

That includes the potential for performance space for music and theater, he said.

Out of dozens of community comments, there was no objection to the theater purchase.

The Appalachian Theatre closed in November 2007, but had originally opened to a capacity crowd on Nov. 24, 1938.

The first film shown at the theater was “Breaking the Ice” and cost 10 cents for children and 20 cents for adults, Downtown Boone Development Association director Pilar Fotta said.

“What was agreed upon … was for us to go back as much as possible to the original design from 1938,” she said.

The theater hosted live shows in the ‘40s and ‘50s, but was gutted in 1950 by a fire started by overheated popcorn oil. The theater re-opened as a movie venue and closed Nov. 29, 2007.

Organizers hope to reopen the facility Nov. 24, 2013, just in time for the 75th anniversary.

Had the town not purchased the cinema, there’s no telling what the space would have been used for, Fotta said.

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