Preserving our history and the State Theatre

Last Updated on May 4, 2016 by cassnetwork

The following guest column was submitted by Barry Taylor, CFO of the State Theatre Preservation Society.

Barry Taylor, CFO State Theatre Preservation Society
Barry Taylor, CFO
State Theatre Preservation Society

With the announcement of the non-profit State Theatre Preservation Society’s creation, the issue of historic preservation comes to mind.

Most downtown areas are comprised of old buildings in various states of disrepair.  Buildings that once stood proud now have boarded windows. Beautifully hand-painted ads have faded with time to become “ghost signs.”

Younger generations wonder why these buildings are not torn down — but older citizens fondly reminisce of the way things used to be. Meanwhile, little is done to stop the extinction of downtown.

How many buildings must we lose to fire, condemnation, or structural failure before we recognize we are losing our history — a history we should be proud of and one worthy of preserving?

A community is defined by its citizens.  Imagine if we all, as a small token of civic pride, simply picked up trash when we see it; stopped throwing garbage out of our car windows; kept our yards mowed. Imagine the difference taking those simple actions would make in our community.

We must also change our beliefs. Instead of going negative and pointing out what is wrong with our community, try to focus on what we do have that sets us apart from other towns. No city is free of negative attributes. We as a community can always strive to do better. However, generally speaking, how does posting your negative thoughts about Logansport help Logansport?

Logansport certainly does have its share of problems. To say otherwise is being intellectually dishonest. The problems facing our community began incrementally generations ago. By the time we realized we were in trouble, it became clear the task of solving our problems would be daunting.

Yet, there are people in our community who work each day to make a difference. Who believe in Logansport and want to see our community come together and unite toward one common goal: To make our community the best it can be.  A community toward which businesses will eventually gravitate.  A community with much to offer its citizens.

Often we turn to our government leaders — who always promise change but often fall short — for action. This is not a criticism of local government. It is simply the nature of the beast. Government is often inefficient and slow to act. It makes no difference who is in office. Government at its best is a necessary evil and, at its worst, is an obstructive bureaucracy.

True change is derived from the will of the people: Citizens who unite with a clear goal. Volunteers who devote countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears to becoming agents of lasting change in the community they call home.

Fixing the problems facing Logansport will not be easy. We often become entangled by the overall task rather than tackling problems in manageable chunks. If you were to build a structure, would you begin with the roof? Would you construct the walls first? Of course not. You would begin with a strong foundation and build up from there. You would assemble the walls one brick at a time until you have completed the structure. We should strive to build a foundation for change and fix our problems, one brick at a time.

Downtown Logansport needs a rallying point — a crown jewel in an art district deserving of civic pride. Most remember the State Theatre as a movie house, and recall joyous memories of a movie with family or friends … the smell of popcorn and candy, washed down with your favorite soft drink.

The State Theatre has arrived at a crossroads. Since its conversion into a live-entertainment venue, Logansport has had the opportunity to see Burlesque shows, Heywood Banks, Bob Zany, and Henry Lee Summer. Plus, national touring tributes to Pink Floyd, Elvis Presley, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Kiss, Metallica, and Johnny Cash. Classic movies and performances by the Civic Players of Logansport and Logansport Children’s Choir. Countless comedians and local bands have also graced the State’s stage. All at an affordable price.

Kevin Burkett, Dave Osenbaugh, Rich Voorhees, Barry Baldwin, and I endeavored to form the State Theatre Preservation Society — working toward the common goal of making the State Theatre the crown jewel of downtown … something Logansport can be proud of.

However, we need community support. Any level of financial support makes a difference. While we plan to seek grants, we know from discussions with other leaders of similar projects that the majority of financing generally comes from local sources.

If you have enjoyed a show at the State, or simply want to see the theatre remain a part of downtown Logansport, we hope you will consider supporting our efforts. If you would like to donate, visit and click the “donate” button. If you would like to volunteer, click the “volunteer” button. Or to come to a show — again, or for the first time — click “Buy Tickets.”

Cass County Online