Jimsink 47

The Annex

The Annex was not original to the theatre building.  

The Annex was purchased to house mechanical equipment and to allow us to install more restrooms (the original Theatre had only three restrooms in the entire building). 

The second floor of the Annex was an apartment for a number of years-- the living quarters for the people who owned the pharmacy that originally occupied this space.  

And in an odd twist, after the pharmacy was replaced by another business, those living in the upper apartment had to enter their dwelling on the second floor by using the Theatre stairs we just passed. 

By now, I’m sure you’ve noticed the historic painted sign.

How old do you think this sign is? 

This sign was painted around 1897.  

It was here prior to the Theatre being built. 

We found this painted sign by accident, hidden behind old plaster that we were supposed to patch and paint.

As the workers were chipping away the loose plaster, a sizeable chunk fell off and a large part of the sign was uncovered.

The workers kept chipping away and uncovered the sign you see now.

The rest of the sign can be seen inside the men's restroom (if you are a man, or if the bathroom is unoccupied, of course).

But keeping the sign as you see it today became a possible problem.

We had to ask special permission from the Department of Historic Resources to keep the sign uncovered. 

After much discussion, they agreed, but only because the painted sign was not painted on a part of the original theatre structure, otherwise this remarkable sign would have been again covered with plaster and lost forever.

The sign is named for the Snyder family: a family that has given generously to this community. 

Local attorney and Foundation board member, Meade Snyder, was instrumental in investigating, and securing our historic and new market tax credit funding.

A vital part of the funding needed to complete the renovation project and an effort that required thousands of hours of Meade’s volunteer time.

Below your feet, you’ll notice we raised the original floor by 18 inches to match the floor height of the theater.

Above you is a very special piece of functional art.

We had this chandelier designed and fabricated by a Richmond sculptor with the requirement that he construct a lighting fixture with elements found during the demolition phase of the theatre’s renovation.

You can see old film reels, found in the old projection booth as well as pieces of unuseable lighting and decorative metals.

The light bulbs are modern reproductions.

Take special note of the small remaining section of the original wood ceiling, you can see it over top of the entrance door.  

Today, this Annex is used as a concession area and for coat check. 

It is a service area for the space we’ll visit next, the auditorium.

Please enter the auditorium through the double doors across from the Annex counter half door.


Tour The Historic Masonic Theatre
  1. Introduction
  2. The Main Lobby
  3. The Annex
  4. The John E. Hillert Auditorium
  5. Auditorium Ronovations