DeSoto ren­o­va­tion brings ac­co­lades

Mem­bers of The Ge­or­gia Trust for His­toric Preser­va­tion toured lo­ca­tions around town Fri­day.

Rome News-Tribune - - Front Page - By Nick God­frey Staff Writer NGod­

The His­toric DeSoto The­atre Foun­da­tion was hon­ored Fri­day by The Ge­or­gia Trust for His­toric Preser­va­tion for the foun­da­tion’s ef­forts to ren­o­vate Rome’s his­toric down­town the­ater.

The event took place at the the­ater lo­cated at 530 Broad St.

“The DeSoto The­atre was trans­ferred to us from the Rome Lit­tle The­atre to specif­i­cally work on restor­ing the build­ing,” said Paul Grif­fin, pres­i­dent of the His­toric DeSoto The- atre Foun­da­tion.

Grif­fin said the Fox The­atre In­sti­tute rec­og­nized Rome’s DeSoto The­atre as one of Ge­or­gia’s 310 his­toric the­aters, of which only 260 re­main stand­ing.

The DeSoto The­atre was fur­ther cho­sen to be one of the 14 the­aters to be fo­cused on by the Fox The­atre In­sti­tute — one of the DeSoto’s many spon­sors — to help set up shows and other events.

Grif­fin said the most re­cent ren­o­va­tions were made to sev­eral rooms up­stairs by pro­vid­ing new roof­ing, air con­di­tion­ing and more.

He said the most vis­i­ble change is the en­try way into the the­ater it­self. It was com­pletely re­done and made as close as pos­si­ble to its orig­i­nal 1929 look.

“We have very, very long plans for restora­tion of the DeSoto,” Grif­fin said. “We want to re­store this build­ing back to its 1929 grandeur.”

Suzanne Scott, vice pres­i­dent of the His­toric DeSoto The­atre Foun­da­tion, said that the build­ing will be avail­able for rent to the com­mu­nity for events. She said that there have al­ready been two wed­dings to take place in the the­ater and shows, con­certs and meet­ings were all pos­si­ble as well.

“This is a com­mu­nity the­ater,” Grif­fin said. “ And, we want the com­mu­nity to know that.”

Each year The Ge­or­gia Trust for His­toric Preser­va­tion gives awards to those around the state work­ing to pre­serve and bet­ter his­tor­i­cal land­marks.

Some 180 mem­bers of the trust were sched­uled to visit other lo­cal his­toric sites in Rome on Fri­day, in­clud­ing St. Peter’s Epis­co­pal Church, the Rome Area His­tory Mu­seum, the newly ren­o­vated and re­stored Ma­sonic Lodge, the Home on the Hill at Dar- ling­ton School Myr­tle Hill Ceme­tery, Oak Hill and the Rome News-Tri­bune.

Ryan Smith / Rome News-Tri­bune

Jean Rolen (from left), Lynne Jack­son and Bon­nie Smarr walk through St. Peter’s Epis­co­pal Church on Fri­day as part of The Ge­or­gia Trust for His­toric Preser­va­tion tours.

Nick God­frey

Some of the re­cent work on the DeSoto’s en­try way was com­pleted by the His­toric DeSoto The­atre Foun­da­tion.

Ryan Smith /

Ken Thomas of De­catur looks through the ex­hibits at the Rome Area His­tory Mu­seum as The Ge­or­gia Trust for His­toric Preser­va­tion group tours Rome.

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