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Columns

February 18, 2013

Deposit never quit on the State Theatre

(Continued)

That was just the beginning. The organization purchased the theater in a sheriff’s sale Sept. 1 and had bigger plans for the State. Raise the Roof soon became a nonprofit organization, the Deposit Community Theatre and Performing Arts Center.

By June 1988, the new roof was being rebuilt. In October of that year, the State Theatre became listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The theater facade hadn’t been damaged by the roof collapse. Its classic blue and black Art Deco glass and elaborate marquee had qualified the building for this status.

At last, patrons jammed the 360-seat restored theater Friday, Nov. 25, 1988, for a showing of “Crocodile Dundee II.” Deposit residents were also in for a treat beginning Friday, Dec. 16, with the opening of the movie “A Time to Remember.” During January and February of 1985, most of this film, starring Donald O’Connor, was filmed in Deposit, with smaller segments shot in Sidney, Hancock and Walton. It was to be first released in Deposit in 1987, but because of the roof collapse, debuted instead in Binghamton.

With that disastrous chapter behind, the Deposit group moved on with further restorations. Just weeks before it was to be restored to its former glory, fire reduced the theater to a pile of ashes and four singed walls early Saturday morning, Sept. 24, 1994, only a few hours after a crowd had left a double feature of “Black Beauty” and “The Mask.” The blaze also destroyed an adjacent building and threatened the village hall.

The Deposit Community Theatre and Performing Arts Center wasn’t about to give up, and with the help of many volunteers, the effort to rebuild was determined by October. Once again the marquee had survived the blaze, but needed repair. It was taken down and sent to specialists in Oxford for the work.

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