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Morning Sun
  • Colonial Fox marquee to come down Monday

  • Pittsburg is known for its historic downtown, but a recent change will have the downtown looking even more historic — more like 1920. The marquee on the front of the building will be removed on Monday morning, returning the building to how it originally looked.

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  • Pittsburg is known for its historic downtown, but a recent change will have the downtown looking even more historic — more like 1920. The marquee on the front of the building will be removed on Monday morning, returning the building to how it originally looked.
    “Nobody in this lifetime has seen the Colonial Fox like that, right?” said James Collver, Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation administrative assistant. “People might be sad to see the marquee going down, but it’s like having a new building on Broadway.”
    The marquee on the Colonial Fox Theatre has a pretty long history of its own.
    Originally on the Midland Theatre, which was once almost literally across the street, the marquee moved to its present home on the Colonial Fox in 1959, gaining the Fox name and a new view that has stood for more than 50 years.
    Even before the current marquee, a marquee of some sort (at one time, a marquee bearing just the name Colonial) has graced the front of the theatre for 20-30 years before that.
    “It’s going to be incredible,” said Vonnie Corsini, CFTF executive director. “It’ll be real different. It’s something we’ve visualized and imagined. For those of us who have been working on this, no matter how long, we’ve seen and been excited by the vision. We’ve seen the details that have been hidden so long behind that marquee.”
    Chief among those details is the brick and terra cotta archway, which is the focal point of the facade improvements already underway. Additionally, windows will be put in along the top portion of the building.
    A few weeks ago, the contractors came to the CFTF to explain that in order to have better access to the facade, the brickwork and the terra cotta, the marquee would likely have to come down sooner rather than later.
    “We can take it down and safeguard it so we can bring it back to its future home and complete the repair work in one shot, or we don’t and we take the risk that the terra cotta arch deteriorates more and more, adding expense to the repair,” Corsini said.
    While the marquee needed to come down for the short-term plans of the project, it also eventually needed to come down for the longterm plans. Artist renderings of the CFTF’s ultimate goal includes moving the marquee to a proposed future expansion of the building to the north.
    “That’s the vision and plan,” Corsini said. “It won’t be back up on this building. We plan to put it back up on Broadway, adjacent to this building. It’ll be on its own canvas and have its own design where it is meant to be proclaimed on Broadway. It’d have a backdrop that’s definitely suited to its own style and beauty.”
    Page 2 of 2 - There is no timeline at this point for that proposed expansion — for one, the CFTF does not own the parking lot proposed for the northern expansion. The marquee could be down for years before going back up, depending on when gifts and funding come in.
    “I was hoping we could leave it up there until we could move it over to the expansion, but it didn’t work out that way,” Corsini said.
    Sarah Jensen, CFTF marketing and public relations director, said the marquee coming down will restore the building to its original look.
    “I see the theater in a different way than the general public. The public sees the marquee, and that’s the theater. They don’t see the beautiful details of the building hiding behind the marquee. The marquee is cool and iconic, and we’ll keep it in the plan. But we are putting in soffet lights and showing off the beautiful archway there behind it. We’re bringing the lights back to Broadway,” Jensen said, referencing a one-time CFTF theme.
    Until such time as an expansion is created, the marquee will be protected and stored in a safe, dry, clean location.
    Corsini said she would miss the ability to display messages and more on the marquee, but in the meantime, the modern-day marquee of Facebook and websites will serve the same function. Further, the marquee sponsors can expect to see increased marketing opportunities in lieu of the actual marquee.
    The marquee is expected to come down on Monday morning at 9 a.m.
    “This is a big deal,” Corsini noted. “I’d love to see a bunch of people across the street watching this historic event. It’s the right thing to do. Strategically, now is the time. We could insist no-no-no-no-no, but it doesn’t make sense to incur more damage to the elements we’re trying to restore To donate to the restoration of the Colonial Fox, visit www.colonialfox.org or call 235-0622.
     
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