News from the region
Fowler Theatre restoration nears completion
Two phases down and one to go. That’s the latest on the Fowler Theatre rehabilitation. Phase III will complete the nearly 15-year restoration of the 1940 Art Deco gem by the Prairie Preservation Guild, Ltd. The non-profit organization owns and operates the first-run movie theater with an all-volunteer force.
This last phase of work includes replacing and insulating the ceiling, repairing and extending the stage, installing new sound and lighting systems, reinstalling original wall sconces, and resurfacing the concrete floor in preparation for new Deco-detailed seating. Not one to overlook the opportunity to assist other theater preservation efforts around the state, the Prairie Preservation Guild is donating the removed seats – from a later period, but still usable -- to the Monon Civic Preservation Society for that group’s effort to save and rehabilitate the historic Monon Theater.
When finished, the Fowler Theatre’s auditorium will reflect the original Art Deco ambience it had when Dimosthenes “Dick” Vlastos -- a Greek immigrant who moved to the Benton County community from the Calumet region – built the place. The Fowler Theatre’s Greek heritage runs deep: Vlastos hired a Greek architect and an all-Greek construction crew from Chicago to design and build the theater. He even brought in a Greek orthodox priest to bless the business when it opened in March 1940.
The Prairie Preservation Guild plans to rededicate the refurbished theater later this year. Learn more about the Fowler Theatre and see photos of the project here.