How It All Came To Be...
Several years ago John Hargiss made the decision to relocate his stringed instrument building and repair business to a larger space. He had spent over twenty years in Benson, Nebraska in a wonderful historical building but it just did not have the space he needed. As he began searching for a new place he was shown a building at 40th and Hamilton Streets. The property was actually a block of buildings and the end building we planned to use for his shop was known to most everyone as the old Martin's Bakery. John is very involved in historical preservation so this was exciting news to us. At the time of the purchase, the buildings had been used for many different businesses over the years and had many different rooms that had been built so it was hard to see exactly what we had purchased. Every time we looked at the front of the building, we were convinced that a theatre had been here at one time or other. So began the tearing down and cleaning of the old girl and we soon discovered that there was in fact a theatre hiding beneath all the storage and temporary walls. A quick trip down to the library comfirmed what we were seeing.
40th Street Theatre was coming back! We did not know exactly how we were going to do it and we certainly did not have the budget for this type of renovation considering the fact we had already restored the bakery side of the building and got the stringed instrument business up and running. As we began the tear down, we saved all the material we thought we could use again which was quite a lot in the end. So with mostly recycled materials and a lot of imagination and creativity we have restored 40th Street Theatre to her original state!
The final result is a beautiful and historical space that can host both private and public events. The main theatre can accommodate up to 145 seats for a sit-down dinner, 175 -195 for a cocktail party and 185 for theatre seating. We have recently finished a second room, the Joyce Room, that is adjacent to the main theatre and can seat up to an additional 50 guests or it may be used for smaller events of 50 or less. Both spaces have access to a wonderful outdoor green space!