Grand Theater Restoration Progress by year 2010 to present: 

Our most up to date info is posted on our Facebook page.

Here is a 1925 photo of the original facade, our goal is to reproduce and install the vertical GRAND blade and a lower

Marquee that has digital signboards that looks more like the 1949 marquee as pictured below:

               

                                               

Grand Theater Restoration Project

1949 Dave Barnhouse "A Grand Night in Steubenville"

  121 South Fourth Street Steubenville OH

The overall mission of this project is to save, restore and promote historic downtown Steubenville so that we can all enjoy its 226+ years of history.  From its starting point at Historic Fort Steuben along the Ohio River, to the Mansions on North Fourth Street, shopping its historic storefronts downtown and dancing in the Grand Ballroom at the Fort Steuben Hotel, Steubenville has an amazingly rich and diverse history.  Everyone living in Steubenville or has ever lived or visited here should be able to enjoy what we have today. To save it for our children to enjoy and to have many fond memories of it as well

The restoration committee has spent considerable time and discussion on how the Grand will fit in with the use of the two existing auditorium facilities downtown, those being the Masonic Temple and Steubenville Big Redís auditoriums.  We all agree that we have beautiful facilities in both the Masonic Temple and Steubenville Big Red.  The Grand and the future Grand   Performing Arts   Center will be unique to downtown and to the entire area.  When you also include the Museum of Performing Arts that will utilize the left hand storefront as well as both floors of the Event Center, there is nothing like it here. 

The main auditorium is and will be unique and very ornate.  It is also a destination that will attract a lot of attention as a performing arts center. Both of these other auditoriums have been discussed several times, and together with the Grand can be used for many events.  We all agree that we have other space but we have nothing like the Grand.  The future of Steubenville depends on a vibrant downtown and an arts and cultural resurgence that cannot happen without a focal point like the Grand.

When the Fort was proposed, many brought forward the same argumentsÖ.we can't afford it, we have enough ....and so the story went.  But look at what folks have done.  A lot of vision for the future, fund raising, hard work, craftsmanship, dedication, etc went forth and today folks from far and wide come to see Fort Steuben!  We take a lot of pride in the Fort and many come to tour, and even more to enjoy the park every Thursday during the summer concerts, the annual festival in June and many other special times throughout the year.

We think it is way past time that we hold dear our history instead of always being so quick to tear things down.   Think of the railroad station, Stanton's home, the ornate Capitol and Paramount theatres.  Our goal is that we will all come together for the good of Steubenville , put pride back into the city, and see businesses coming back because of what we have to offer.  Itís time to save the Grand and let people have pride in our historic downtown once again.

We, who have a vision for the Grand, see the same end result.  In addition, many businesses have come forward with donations and the promise that "if we build it, they will come"....we hope you will too.

2010

Project Started May 27, 2010

Saved from the Wrecking Ball by Francesca Carinci and myself appearing several times in Steubenville Municipal Court and finally the deed being signed and donated to the Steubenville Historic Landmarks Foundation by the Shepard's Walk Church. Myself and my friend Jason up on the roof tarping off the damaged stage skylight:

           

   

Cleanout Weekends 2010, 2011

Tons and tons of rubbish was removed from the Grand over 4 volunteer weekends.  Before these weekends were held plaster debris was sampled and tested to ensure it was asbestos free, and there was and is no asbestos in the plaster at the Grand.  Over 120 volunteers help clean the theater out the in 2010.  A few photos from those weekends:

 

2011

501c3 Received March 15, 2011

Roof completed 2011, funding with many donations of of a Grand for the Grand collected by Donna Keagler and all our board members, and a grant from the Ohio Governors office of Appalachia to reach our goal.

  

2012 

Museum - Office - Lobby

And thank you to YC Construction for repairing the walls and ceiling in the Lobby! Thanks to Apollo Pro Cleaning for the donated mold remediation in the lobby and office.  Air Excellence also donated to this clean up!  Thanks to TS Electric and the membership of the IBEW for providing the electrical upgrade to the Office and Lobby and HVAC.  Thanks to Peterson Carpets and Terry Peterson for providing the lobby carpet installation, and in Memory of Bill Crosky who donated the carpet for the lobby just before his death.  Susanne Curn-Escobar for setting up and providing the movie memorabilia for the museum and Mel Lilly who provided most of the local performing arts memorabilia.

                   

Annex and Annex Roof

The building at 125 South Fourth Street which is attached to the Grand was donated by Derrick and Lisa Ferguson and we got the new roof on it that year as well.

             

 

Heat was also installed in the office and lobby this year.

 

2013

WBCM Hired as Engineering Firm - Structural Review Completed - No Significant Issues

Old Elevator Removal from the annex 125 South Fourth Street.

 

Facade Cleanup, Window Repair,

 

    

 

 

Thank you to the JC Williams Trust; the Charles M Pugliese and Thelma M Pugliese Charitable Trust; Macy's and several individual donors for the Grants and donations that made the lobby restoration, office restoration and Front Facade restorations possible!

Thank you to Nelson Fine Art and Gifts for replacing our sign plastics with beautiful new signs.

Asbestos Removal by State of Ohio Clean Funds Grant

STEUBENVILLE - A Zanesville company has started to remove asbestos-covered pipes in the Grand Theater this week as part of a 10-year rehabilitation project. Lepi Enterprises erected scaffolding and was starting to remove the pipe work covered in asbestos for disposal at an approved landfill. Lepi was the sole company to bid on the project.  The $49,748 contract is being paid through the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant received by the city last year. Representatives from the Ohio Department of Development Services and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency toured the theater earlier this summer. Scott Dressel, president of Grand Theater for the Performing Arts Restoration Committee, said the asbestos- covered pipes were part of the theater's old heating system. "The project should last about six weeks, and all of the asbestos will be completely removed from the building. I am very glad we were able to receive the state grant to do this project and appreciate the efforts by the city and the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission," said Dressel. Steubenville Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi said the total cost of the project is $129,000. After walking from the theater into the front lobby, Dressel said the seating and stage area will be completely sealed during the asbestos removal. "No one will be allowed in the theater until the work is done," stated Dressel. That means Dressel and his team of volunteers are now looking at exterior projects for the fall. "We have several possible work projects, but have not yet decided on what we will be doing outside," Dressel said. Earlier this year, the Grand board of directors chose Shaeffer & Madama of Wheeling as the official architectural firm for the restoration of the South Fourth Street structure. "Shaeffer & Madama, along with the engineering firm previously selected - Whitney Bailey Cox and Magnani of Pittsburgh - will be doing all the architectural and engineering work to meet the code requirements of the city of Steubenville and state of Ohio, as well as the design changes desired by the Grand Theater for the Performing Arts Restoration Project Design Committee," Dressel said. "Our board of directors took a lot of time researching and discussing the architectural firms. And, Dennis Madama of Shaeffer & Madama is very excited about this project. We have also had the interior of the building laser scanned by the All Point firm of Pittsburgh," said Dressel. "At this point, we anticipate starting the $1 million restoration of the front of the theater in the summer of 2014. And, we are now planning to create an historical memory lane concept on the stairway leading to the second and third ballroom areas as well as murals throughout those two rooms," Dressel explained. Dressel has been leading the grassroots efforts to preserve and restore the theater since 2010. The last remaining downtown theater was once in danger of falling victim to a wrecking ball after years of neglect and lack of repairs. Steubenville housing officials began to investigate the structural conditions after a neighboring property owner filed a complaint on Oct. 6, 2008. Since assuming ownership of the theater, Dressel has coordinated the sealing of the leaking roof, removal of the main floor auditorium seats and cleaning the interior of the building. Volunteers have restored the lobby of the theater with paint and new carpeting. "Sometimes we are too quick to tear down the old historical buildings because of their poor conditions. It will be nice to save a piece of Steubenville's history for a change. I have never lost a project once I started a restoration. I don't want to start now," Dressel stated. Visitors to the theater in 2010 saw broken seats, a water-soaked stage and falling plaster. But, Dressel said he could look past the aging interior and see a theater once again filled with movie and stage patrons and, "the glory of the past years." "When I stand on the stage I actually see the theater finished in my head. In my head it is all done. I do that all the time. When I work on my restoration projects I always envision and think about everything for a long time before I actually do anything because it is art, not just structure so you really have to think your way through," explained Dressel. Dressel has estimated the theater restoration project will last at least 10 years.

 

 

2014

Front Facade Restoration - New Windows - Removal of right hand added storefront glass.



  
               
 
             



      

2015

Engineering Balcony and Mezzanine Review Completed and Ballroom Trusses

Ballroom Restoration Started - 2nd floor wall plaster

      

         

Electrical Service - New Theater Main Service - new sub panels in Office, Basement, Both Ballrooms

Temporary Heating Installed in the main Theater to allow Plaster Work to begin

Evergreene finished analysis of plaster condition and plans for restoration

Wurlitzer Restoration started in March,

The Wurlitzer was returned to the Grand by Elmer and Audrey Friend of Rockford Illinois.

           

               

               

               

               

 

2016

Balcony and Mezzanine steel purchased for repairs

Ballroom Restoration Continues

Ballroom 1 is being cleaned, walls painted and floors refinished.  This is about done and the ceiling and staircases are next. 1/31/16  Made possible by the PNC Charitable Trusts.  More work is planned for 2018.

 

Front Facade Repairs to front doors

 

New Stage Floor Donated by Byers Concrete

               

New stage floor was donated and installed by Byers Concrete, Jonathan Byers 740-632-8160.   As of 12/31/16.  This is just the floor not the entire stage, flyloft, dressing room area.

Orchestra Pitt was uncovered and cleaned out:

 

     

Wurlitzer Restoration Continues:

               

               

               

               

               

 

2017

Ballroom Stairs Repaired

 

Front Facade Restoration Continues and Paint

 

Wurlitzer Restoration of the Theater Organ Starts (organ was received in 2015)

                

               

               

   

Chandelier from the Capital Theater which was at the Rose on Lovers Lane was donated to the Grand.  Mark and Gabe Nelson got it down, crated and hauled into the Grand Lobby, eventually we are going to hang it in the 1/2 dome just inside the upper lobby doors in the theater:

                 

     

 

 

2018

Ballroom Restoration Continues

           

Evergreene Starts Ornamental Plaster Restoration

                   

Wurlitzer Restoration Continues

               

               

  

 

2019

Wurlitzer Restoration continues:

               

               

               

               

               

               

 

Ballroom Restoration Drywall Purchased - Electrical planned for ballrooms spaces

       

Code Review Completed

Ballroom Truss Steel Supports Completed:

 

 

2020

Balcony and Mezzanine Steel Repaired

   

Steel studs for theater walls ordered and delivered

 

Wurlitzer Restoration blower reassembled and running

       

 

2021

Ballroom Electrical lighting wiring