The Romance Theatre in Rexburg was damaged in the 1976 Teton Dam Flood, but now thanks to the Hampton Inn Landmark Project, life will be back in the theater.
It’s no small project. The Save The Romance committee is made up of volunteers, and their goal is to bring live theatre back to Rexburg.
“I am hoping this place will be an opportunity for a lot of families and kids to perform and watch shows. We are getting a lot closer to our goal and these guys have really pushed us ahead of our goal today,” said Ronalee Flansburg, Chairman of Romance Committee.
Built in 1917, restored in 1930 and damaged in 1976, the Romance became a movie theatre until it closed in 2001.
“Everyone has a story, a memory, or something they did or participated in at The Romance Theatre. We are just hoping to continue that and build memories for more people,” said Flansburg.
“You are restoring something that our ancestors spent a lot of time and money putting up, and they put a lot of pride into it,” said Gary Horton, General Manager of Hampton Inn Airport and Ameritel.
The Hampton Inn group of 20 volunteers worked all day to rip up carpets, lay new stage, plant trees, and clean graffiti.
“You know Hampton has been doing this for, I think, it is year 10, Save The Landmark, and they are trying to save a landmark in every state,” said Kirk Hansen, General Manager Hampton Inn Idaho Falls.
“We would like to present you with this donation of $10,000 to help you with some of the refurbishing you are still doing,” said a representative for Save The Landmark.
For volunteers, it is more than just the labor.
“There is something to be said for instead of just donating money, but coming in and getting your hands dirty with the project and being involved with watching the transformation of the project,” said Horton.
“Getting something back to its original structure is very cool to all of us,” said Hansen.
The theatre hopes to open this summer, but officials said there is still more work to be done. Once the theatre is open, volunteer ushers and concession workers will be needed.