The Newark Advocate from Newark, Ohio on October 1, 1995 · 9
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The Newark Advocate from Newark, Ohio · 9

Newark, Ohio
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 1, 1995
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SUNDAY October 1, 1995 NEWSMAKERS ELIZABETH TAYLOR: Elizabeth Taylor's second hip replacement has lett her with an exaggerated limp and she is planning to have another operation, columnist Liz Smith reported today. Taylor summoned her doctor to Her California home two weeks ago to show him that one of her legs is now TAYLOR shorter than the other, the story said. Taylor's condition is placing strain on her back and first hip replacement. The operation is to take place in about three weeks, the Post said. "I will not be a cripple," Taylor told the columnist. "I will not use crutches or a walker. I will get over this and get on with my life." The actress, who has used a cane recently, underwent surgery to replace her right hip in June, just o months alter doctors replaced her left hip. She injured the right hip while doing aerobics in the pool of her Bel-Air estate. Earlier this month, Taylor, 63, was hospitalized for three days for an irregular heartbeat. She suffered serious respiratory problems in 1990 that kept her hospitalized for three months. PRINCESS DIANA: A rugby star inked to Princess Diana is separating from his wife of 15 months. Newspapers last month reported a relationship between Will Carling, captain of England's World Cup rugby team, and Diana, estranged wife of the heir to the British throne. Carling, 29, was photographed visiting her Kensington Palace home. The English Rugby Union, announcing the Cartings' separation on Friday, said "no one else is involved" in the decision. Six weeks ago, Julia Carling had vowed the marriage would survive her husband s friendship with Princess Diana. "It hurts me very much to face osing my husband in a manner which has become outside my control, said Mrs, Carlmg, 30. Diana separated from Prince Charles in 1992. BOB PACKWOOD: Oregonians have apparently read enough about the travails of Sen. Bob Packwood. "The Packwood Report," which contains the full text of documents made public three weeks ago by the Senate Ethics Committee, was delivered to bookstores this week. Sales of the $10 book have PACKWOOD been anything but brisk. "We've sold less than 10," said Powell's Bookstore night manager Chns Faatz. "People are probably satiated. God knows I am and I hope Bob is." Packwood resigned Sept. 8 after the committee recommended his ouster over allegations of sexual and official misconduct. NEWARK LIQUOR AGENCY OPENS: A new state liquor agency has opened in the Kroger store at 245 Deo Drive, replacing stores on Mount Vernon Road and East Main Street. Kroger remodeled the greeting card area to accommodate the state liquor store, said agency Manager Trina Molnar. The Kroger site will operate from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The state store at 1055 Mount Vemon Road closed Monday and the store at 69 E. Main St. closed July 22. Projected annual savings from these stores to agency conversion will be approximately $139,000, said Michael A. Akrouche, director of the Ohio Department of Liquor Control. The savings result from the reduction in operating costs, including employee salaries and benefits, leases and utilities. " Kroger is pleased to have been selected as the new liquor agency in Newark and we look forward to serving the beverage needs of area residents, Molnar said. All employees involved in liquor sales will complete the department's alcohol education course, she said. I 1 - J Auditorium Theater celebrates birthday By HEATHER HOMAN Advocate Reporter NEWARK A downtown landmark rich in cultural history is 100 years old this week. The Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Hall, now known as The Auditorium Theater, opened October 4, 1895. The building is currently set to be renovated and there is no celebration planned. However, the centennial offers the chance to look back at the theater's historical significance in the community. The idea for the theater came about in 1891 when a women's auxiliary wanted to honor the 660 men from Licking County who served and died in the Civil War. The intention was also to use the memorial as a place for public meetings and entertainment. To make it a reality, a tax levy was necessary to help fund the project. Women did not have the right to vote at that time, but the men of Newark and Newark Township voted in favor of the North Second Street theater. Four years and $50,000 later, the project was completed. While in operation, the theater was considered to be one of the finest in the Midwest. The main floor and three balconies seated 924 people, and the 2,600 square feet stage was equipped with a 60 feet fly-loft and dressing rooms on two levels. "It had the best acoustics west of Pittsburgh," said Robert McDaniel, a Newark resident who has done extensive research on the theater. His grandmother and aunts were part of the auxiliary responsible for making the theater possible. McDaniel added that because the acoustics were designed before the age of electronics, the theater could accommodate all types of performances. The greatness of the theater drew big-name celebrities and Broadway productions in the early years. Performers such as Boris Karloff, Ethel Barrymore, Harry Houdini, Ray Bolger, George M. Cohan, Gene Autry, Ed Wynn and Count Basie once graced the stage. McDaniel said he remembered going to the theater as a child. His fondest memory was when he was 4 years old his mother took him to see Cohan in "Little Johnny Jones," which featured the song " Give My Regards To Broadway." During his performance, Cohan danced while the sounds of rockets blasted through the auditorium. "When that rocket went off, it scared the daylights out of me and I thought I was going to go through the roof," McDaniel said. Vaudeville soon faded with the popularity of moving pictures and .the theater was transformed into a movie house. According to McDaniel, the theater showed double features and gave away dishes and towels around the time of the Great Depression. The cost to see the evening show was 13 cents, while the matinee was just 1 1 cents. The theater was remodeled for the first time in 1947. Among many changes, the three balconies were combined into one and the organ was removed. The theater underwent more changes in 1968 after an arson fire destroyed the facade of the building. All of the Civil War memorabilia that was stored and displayed was destroyed as '$ ,y - JL'f i lit i i ' -v -r" - r h y K, - J ' A view of the Interior of the theater as It appeared just after 1 900. When the building was renovated In 1947, the balconies were combined Into one. (From the collection of Bud Abbott, courtesy of The Longaberger Co.) MEM ,'J I . . ; v. V v V-, . ..- '..-'a ,s"' ,1 rfe M. S5& ; t bri. it Jt - . :,: : " M? . H m - ' 'M 1 ' ,J- mk - r ! .mtr- . ' . , - " ' ik-aa- J, - - The Auditorium Theater, on North Second well. Although the building was insured, the county lacked the funds to reconstruct the facade to its original beauty. Soon after, the Midland Theater Corporation rented the building, but pulled out in 1978 due to lack of business. In 1979, the county commissioners took control of the empty building. Over the next ten years, two groups tried to make use of the theater, but due to the condition of the building and lack of community support, neither was successful. The theater again fell back into the hands of the county commissioners. When community leaders said the building would cost nearly $2 million to repair, the county set aside funds to tear it down. To rally the community's support to save the building, a group of volunteers formed in the late 1980s. Licking County Veterans Memorial Auditorium Inc., made up mostly of community and business leaders, proposed a tax levy in 1991 to fund the project a levy just like the one that brought the theater to life in 1895. The volunteers said the levy, along with the help of private contributions, would provide the necessary funds to save the theater. The group wanted to save the theater because of its historical significance and potential to stimulate the downtown economy. Johnny John, a local businessman and volunteer with the group, told The Advocate why he got involved in the fight to save the theater. "When I got involved, (the theater) was on its way to the butcher block," John said. "I just hated to see something like that destroyed. I felt it was something that doesn't exist downtown and I wanted to help revitalize it." If the levy was passed, the group planned a war memorial to be resurrected inside the building. Eventually, they also wanted to reproduce the facade and restore the building's original exterior beauty. To gain support for the levy, the QEOES Street, as it appears today. (Jeff Groves, 'yj.00 J?'' ... ' ' " ; " -V-v i . t:ri-i-- "'. ":- " f " . . .. - . . . - My-m .. j The Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Hall as it appeared shortly after it opened In 1895. The facade of the building was destroyed by arson fire in 1968. (From the collection of Bud Abbott, courtesy of The Longaberger Co.) group sponsored a memorial concert at the theater in May 1991. A $10,000 campaign contribution from Dave Longaberger, founder of The Longaberger Co. in Dresden, also aided in the effort. The group's dreams quickly faded, however, as the levy was rejected by over 60 percent of the voters. Although disappointed, the volunteers refused to give up. As a last resort, they turned to Longaberger to see if he was willing to buy the theater from the county. In July 1992, The Longaberger Co. purchased the theater at a commissioner's sale for $70,000. Later that year, Longaberger also bought the Midland Theater, just across the street. According to Kerry Desberg, Longa-berger's director or public relations, the company bought the buildings to preserve and use them as a convention ' 4 f l , - I w Located In the upper level of the building, this room displayed Civil War memorabilia. It was eliminated in the process of renovating the theater in 1947. (From the collection of Bud Abbott, courtesy of The Longaberger Co.) ' '. 'Ml The Advocate.) center. Not only will the interior of the Auditorium Theater be restored, but Longaberger is considering plans to recreate the building's original facade. Currently, Newark native Larry Wise is in charge of the restoration of the Midland Theater. He will begin work on the Auditorium Theater as soon as that project has been completed. : Desberg said it is too early to put a price tag or completion date on the theaters. : " It will be a significant investment, but it is very much in the planning and development stages," Desberg said. . John said he is excited about the restorations since Longaberger is doing something that many people thought could not be done. "Mr. Longaberger's plans are wonderful. ..I give him my personal sup-, port," John said. "With Longaberger ties, its going to be the place (to be)." - f v y k i i ! C

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