The Park Theatre, Jaffrey, NH
Park Theatre approved for $2M construction loan
By Elodie Reed
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Step by step, the Park Theatre has continued to move closer to the goal of a new building at 19 Main St. in Jaffrey. Now, with a $2 million construction loan approved on Sept. 26 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Facilities program, the Park Theatre has sufficient funds to begin construction.
Caroline Hollister, president of the Park Theatre’s Board of Trustees, said in a phone interview Wednesday that the theater applied for the loan in April and had it approved the Thursday before the federal government three-week shutdown. The money, which is packaged as a long-term, low-interest loan out of a federal fund set aside for the purpose of rural development, is solely for the construction of the new theater. “The loan will not be used until we begin construction,” Hollister said.
According to Hollister, the ways a new theater add to the community and the quality of life for residents were more than enough to match the criteria for the loan. As a start, the theater will provide a place for the area schools without performance space to go to, rehearse for, and put on plays. “We hope to show all the town’s school plays,” Hollister said.
The Whole Story.
The Park Theatre building is an historically significant 19th century wooden frame structure in the center of downtown Jaffrey, New Hampshire. In 1922, Romulo Vanni, an Italian immigrant to the town, raised his house up to sit atop his produce and dry goods store. He then built a lobby entrance under it to provide entry into his adjoining barn which he converted into a movie theatre. He projected the movies through windows cut into his kitchen pantry on the 1st floor of his house. By 1935, the movies were so popular that he expanded the barn to the edge of his property to accommodate 720 seats. He showed two movies a night with a Sunday matinee and vaudeville shows. The lines to get in went around the block.... Read More