The Strand Marquee
October 22, 2020
By Scarlette Woodall,
Hohenwald Arts Council Executive Director
"Never give up!" The famous quote of Winston Churchill kept ringing in my ears. I had faith it would happen just not sure when. Who could have guessed when I approached Kevin King in November 2017 to inquire about a storage unit it would set the wheels in motion. To my surprise, Kevin had a special interest, not to mention the expertise, to meet this challenge. The seeds were planted, and it happened.
When I suggested I wanted Kevin's photograph for this article, he said, "No." Then he responded, "I don't do pictures." Since Kevin refused to be photographed, I need the community to help the Arts Council show our appreciation. Please let Kevin know by thanking him if you see him.
Since the initial restoration of The Strand Theatre in 2006, the Marquee has been in the plan. However, there were only three $1000.00 contributions made, a personal donation from Mrs. Jana Grimes, The Elephant Sanctuary, and Stephen Bates of Guardian Advisors. This was the total collected and earmarked for the marquee to date. The cost to recreate the marquee at that time was estimated to be over $20,000.00.
There were numerous immediate maintenance issues the Hohenwald Arts Council had to address following the venue purchase in 2017. We needed front doors, art gallery windows, the restrooms re-roofed and three central units relocated. In short, the likelihood of getting a metal sign designed and installed in my lifetime for $3000 was highly unlikely. That was until Kevin King came on board. He had the talent, and the desi, to make it happen. If you haven't noticed, please drive down Main and check it out. On behalf of the Hohenwald Arts Council, and all the community that have grown to love and appreciate, "The Strand Theatre," we thank you, Kevin King, as well as the above donors, for your contributions that made installation possible.
And by chance if anyone reading this would like to follow Kevin's lead, there is still more to do. The neon lights and the awning are the last two phases necessary for the marquee project to be completed.
Kevin is definitely our hero for going above and beyond in fabricating a nearly identical replica of the original Strand Marquee that once adorned the Main Street Theatre venue from 1939 until it was relocated to the Park Avenue site in 1948, where it was destroyed when the Strand was consumed in flames, on August 12, 1963.
If you or someone you know has skills and are willing to volunteer to assist us in the completion of this effort, please contact Scarlette at (931) 628-8277, or email [email protected]