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Restoring the classic Canton Palace Theatre

12:07 PM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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Inside the Canton Palace Theatre.
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  • CANTON -- In the 1920s some amazing theaters were built in Northeast Ohio from the Hanna to the State to the Akron Civic.

    Joe Cronauer recently went to Canton to celebrate the rebirth and renovation of a landmark theater. So get the lights, start the projector -- we're about to see the remaking of a classic.

    Monday, November 22, 1926: Americans were enjoying the Charleston craze and paying 14 cents for a gallon of gas and the beautiful million-dollar Canton Palace Theatre opened on Market Avenue as the Mighty Kilgen pipe organ played music over silent movies.

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    Jump forward 50 years to 1976: The theater is a week away from the wrecking ball.

    That's when the Canton Jaycees and the community stepped in.

    The Canton Palace Theatre Association was formed and the theater was reopened in 1980 and the restoration began.

    "There's things that need to be done and there's things that need to be renovated," Chip Conde, president of the Palace Theatre board, says. "And the creaking bones are starting to be heard and we need to get them fixed.

    A year ago, they approached the local foundations in Stark County and presented a list of emergency "must haves" they need to keep the theater open. They set a goal of $1.2 million dollars.

    "With those funds we've replaced the ceiling, we've replaced the roof, we have replaced the 86-year-old plumbing in the building, we've replaced all of our outdoor lights to LED lights, we've replaced our windows," says Georgia Paxos, executive director of the Canton Palace Theatre Association.

    But there haven't reached their goal yet.

    This past November, the Canton Palace Theatre Association asked the public to pitch in.

    "We still have $300,000 left to raise to make the finishing touches to restore the palace to what it looked like in its original glory in 1926," Paxos says.

    Finishing touches like the 86-year-old outside façade, the carpet throughout the entire theatre and restoring furniture.

    The color, the vibrance, it's all coming back. The projection booth, original fixtures still intact. The restored concession stand with affordable candy prices and a ticket window with an 86-year-old ticket machine that still works. The stars, built into the ceiling, are once again shining.

    How much does it cost to see a movie in the Canton Palace Theatre? Just $5.

     

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