Theater seat a nice discovery

I?ve always liked finding stuff from the old days. This past week I was working upstairs in the Free Press building and found the wooden seat of a theater chair under some of the junk accumulating up there.

The significance of this find is that our building used to be the Avon Theater. I was asking around to find out if anyone knew anything about the theater. Many people remember going to the movies here. However, some citizens were not allowed by their parents to go to the movies and it was frowned upon for religious reasons.

Someone, who will remain anonymous, told of a time he and a friend had parked down the block and entered the theater to watch a movie. When he got home his dad asked him how he liked the movie that night.


There is still some dried up chewing gum under the seat. I know the old desks at school also had gum stuck under them. Some of the kids I knew would peel some off and chew it.


Maybe this has happened to you. Nancy and I were at the 25th anniversary celebration at Hillsboro Hardware this past Saturday and I was going to use my coupon to get an electric skillet. When I got to the counter to pay, I saw someone else was buying a small compressor, which suddenly looked like a better idea to me.

Now I have a dilemma. I am already at the counter with an electric skillet and my wife is standing right there. So I went ahead with the purchase.

Sunday morning I decided to make breakfast and try the new skillet. Scrambled eggs were on my mind?but wait, I have never made scrambled eggs before. I didn?t want to ask how, so I looked on the Internet for a scrambled egg recipe.

I was coached only one time during the process, and I don?t think you can make scrambled eggs with a compressor anyway.


I showed the seat bottom to Sharon Mueller and Dennis Klein at Molly?s on Main just to make sure it was what I thought it was. Dennis verified the seat was real, as he remembered going to movies at the Avon. In fact, he said, the Marion theater had the same kind of seats.


My curiosity still wasn?t satisfied. I had heard that Norman Ensz used to be the projectionist at the Avon back in the day. So I called him to get more information.

Norman said he worked at the theater in the early ?40s and was there for about four years. The theater operated seven days a week and was owned by a gentleman whose last name was Hawkshaw. The owner lived upstairs in a little room above the auditorium.

Before the building was remodeled to the way it is today, the auditorium floor sloped toward the screen. Norman said the film would get quite hot toward the end of the reel so one had to be careful around it.

A fire in the projection room shut down the theater sometime before the mid ?50s, but that happened after Norman was no longer working there. I pulled out some old wires last week that had obviously gotten way hotter than they could tolerate.

Norman said he also worked as a projectionist at the Marion theater after his stint in Hillsboro.


I don?t know if this is true, but I heard no one in the construction business has made it to the top of Mt. Everest. The reason is that they always run out of scaffolding.

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