Wade Williams: The Fight to Save Independence’s Historic Englewood Theatre

3986__the_sound_of_music_(1965)movie_Will this magnificent Independence show place become a garage?

Is the luxurious Englewood Theatre in the Englewood Art District an endangered species? It’s been re-opened and closed many times since it was built in 1949.

However unlike 95% of the single screen  neighborhood  theaters it’s still standing.

Several Decembers ago the theatre re-opened with THE SOUND OF MUSIC. It’s 50 foot screen glowed with the Cinemascope panorama that can only be realized in a big screen theatre like the Englewood.

But two weeks into the run, disaster struck!

The  low water cut off controls on the furnaces in the basement failed and the bottoms melted out of the boilers and the theatre had no choice but to close.

Nearly eight months went by before the insurance company replaced the boilers with all new heating equipment. It was close to the Christmas Holidays and the movie studios
were now demanding that digital projection equipment be added.

There would be no more film – thus another delay.

Then in January another major disaster unfolded. A leak in a waterline in the Englewood’s basement flooded the new furnaces, the two Carrier air conditioners and the electric service feeding the complex. They all shorted out and were ruined under seven feet of
water for several weeks. They all need to be replaced – a major expense – and the insurance company refused to pay for nearly a year.

388072_294198257282573_1473553991_nSeveral unsolicited offers have come in to buy the theatre – one for a garage, another for an outreach center for a midtown church wanting to move into the area.

An area “arts group” offered to take over and run the theatre on a non-profit basis which would insure this classic landmark movie house a permanent place in the area. The group is comprised of experts in the exploitation and operations of these type of
venues.

Finally the insurance company agreed to cover the loss and negotiations are now under way.

With the raising of funds to add digital projection the Englewood could still be just months away from a re-opening.

However if all of these plans fail, it yet could become a garage, thrift store or even a bowling alley.

Stay tuned….

This entry was posted in Wade Williams. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Wade Williams: The Fight to Save Independence’s Historic Englewood Theatre

  1. StillAtMyMoms says:

    Wade, email me at paintslikebobross@gmail.com. (It’s an actual email address, too.)

    Thanks.

  2. Libertarian says:

    Its a grand old theatre, and I sure hope Wade succeeds at his mission.

  3. the dude says:

    Sounds like a cursed theatre.

    • admin says:

      I dunno, Dude.

      Blessed might be a better word given its lengthy life and finally getting the insurance claims settled. Cup half full?

      Unfortunately, sounds like it will need another $75 grand though for digital projection

      Trivia point: I went there sometime – I think in the late 1990s – and saw what was left of The Searchers, Gerry and the Pacemakers and some other aging Brit band. That was pre-Wade

      • Libertarian says:

        In the late 80’s they had live music in the theatre.

        I saw a raunchy metal band called “Stinky Pink” there in 1989.

        Good times…..

  4. OPKS Jimbo says:

    I grew up about a mile from there. Strictly from memory I saw Toby Tyler, Parent Trap, Swiss Family Robinson, War Wagon, Billy Jack, and Big Foot there. The Englewood was always a great place to be.

  5. jim loehr says:

    Hearne,
    Good piece from you and Wade about the theatre. I am the president of the Englewood Theatre Association and I would like to assure you and your readers that we are an organization of film fans and fans of the Englewood who are dedicated to getting that theatre open again and thriving as a non-profit entity. The Association is anxiously ready to get started with fundraising and general clean-up, preparation to get the theatre open again. Initially it might just be running film but we will be launching a campaign to raise the funds to put in digital projection. There is even talk of converting some of the neighboring space to two additional theatres.

    Lots of great things planned. Once the insurance issues are settled and Wade has the core utilities functioning again we will be swarming over the facility to get our work done. It’s exciting and we’re hoping many other film fans will join us in making this restored treasure a big hit!! Thanks!

Comments are closed.