DeSoto renovation brings accolades
Members of The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation toured locations around town Friday.
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.
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.
Some of the recent work on the DeSoto’s entry way was completed by the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation.
Ken Thomas of Decatur looks through the exhibits at the Rome Area History Museum as The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation group tours Rome.