Gillioz coming together

Saturday, January 2, 2021
Contractor Thad Hood, left, gets some help puling back a protective covering over the Gillioz lobby’s centerpiece. The middle of the star is a piece of stone taken from the original Gillioz Theater. Mike Gervais/mgnews@monett-times.com

Contractor have historic theater replica 85 percent complete

A miniature reproduction of the historic Gillioz Theater is approaching completion as crews complete work on fine details and major features this week.

As of Monday, Monett Historical Society Board Member Mark Henderson said the theater space was about 85 percent complete, with a few details still awaiting funding.

Monett Historical Society Board Member Mark Henderson shows off a piece of the original baseboard from the Gillioz Theater that will be used as a backsplash in the theater’s concession area. Mike Gervais/mgnews@monett-times.com

“Today (Monday) is a major day,” Henderson said. “We’ve placed the Gillioz stone and they’re constructing the cabinet and we’re prepping everything to paint the trim. Tomorrow the screen, projector and sound system is going to arrive.”

Construction of the miniature Gillioz Theater is a year-long endeavor that has relied on community donations, a grant and elbow grease. One fundraising effort was the adoption of vintage theater seats that came from the Gillioz Springfield location.

Henderson said, as of Christmas, every seat had been adopted and work is now underway to restore them so they can be placed in the theater.

“There are lots of little details to take care of,” he said. “The seats could take another couple months.”

Henderson also said the Historical Society is in possession of a piece of the old stone baseboards from the original museum, which are going to be retrofitted to serve as a backsplash to a cabinet being built in the concession area of the theater.

Before everything is complete, the 20-25 seat theater will include an antique, functioning popcorn machine from the original Gillioz, a massive stone pulled from the exterior of the building with Gillioz printed on it, a functioning concession area and memorabilia from Gillioz and the theater he built.

Henderson said the project is an important addition to Monett because the theater was a social hub for many residents from the 1930s through the 1970s. It was a place children went to celebrate Christmas, adolescents spent their Friday nights and a place many, many community members worked.

“We are still hoping for more donations, for the marquis and the curtains, but we’re getting close. A lot of it is coming together,” Henderson said.

The Historical Society is a 501c3 organization, so all donations for the project are tax deductible. Anyone who would like to contribute is invited to contact the museum at 714-235-9030.

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