Historic Fayette Theatre

This was the official website for the Historic Fayette Theatre which offers quality, year round entertainment for the entire family. .
Content is from the site's 2004 archived pages.

For the most up-to-date information about the Historic Fayette Theatre go to their current website at: http://historicfayettetheater.com/.

2017 marks the 25th year, of the award winning Historic Fayette Theatre.
The theater is located at 115 South Court Street in the Fayetteville's Historic District, one mile south of the New River Gorge Bridge.

Historic Fayette Theatre
115 South Court Street
Fayetteville, WV 25840
Tickets and Info:
(304) 574- 4655

 

Theatre Construction

The Historic Fayette Theatre has a very rich and deep history. 

 

As from the pages of the Fayette Tribune on October 8th,1937.
Work On Theatre Definite
Work on the first modern theatre building Fayetteville has every had will definitely get underway prior to November 1, weather permitting.  The construction will be completed as rapidly as possible, it was stated this week by C.O. Janutolo, local contractor and builder, who will be the co-owner of the new structure, together with F.G. Janutolo.
 The building is to be constructed on the lot adjoining Hawkins Dress Shop here, or almost directly across the street from the present post office.

Announcement that such a building would be built was made by the Janutolos some weeks ago, but at that time it was not known definitely when work would get underway.

The building is to be completely modern in every respect, and of fireproof construction.  Plans indicate it will seat approximately 400 persons, and the very latest in interior and exterior finishing will be employed to make it entirely up-to-date.

The plans indicate that no theatre in the county will be better equipped, and none made more comfortable for the patrons.

In addition to the actual theatre, which will comprise by far the larger part of the building, two small shops are to be constructed in the front, one on each side of the entrance, facing directly on the street.

While no announcement has been made as to who will lease the new structure, it was learned definitely that terms have been agreed upon and the formal announcement is expected within a comparatively short time.

It was also indicated that in providing equipment such as seats, sound system, and other features the lessee is planning an expenditure of approximately $10,000, and will spare no cost in making this equipment conform to the modernity of the building itself.

Fayetteville has never had a modern theatre building.  Believed by many to be an excellent location for a good theatre, still construction has been delayed for one reason or another until this definite move by the Janutolos.

 

Theatre Opened

As from the pages of the Fayette Tribune, December 16th, 1938.

Modern Playhouse Will Be Opened Tuesday, December 20

The Fayette Theatre, Fayetteville's modern new playhouse, located directly on Main Street here, will be opened for business on Tuesday, December 20, it was announced today by Grant Thomas, owner and manager of the establishment.

The opening of this theatre marks a new high in Fayetteville development, and is a huge link in the building process which got underway about two years ago.

Completely modern in every respect, the show house will accommodate some 500 persons.

Construction of the new building, which is owned by Janutolo and company here, was begun early this year, and has continued through the summer months.  The building is of native stone, and in addition to housing the theatre, also has small shops, one located on each side of the entrance to the theatres.  One is now occupied by the Tony and George lunchroom.

The finest equipment obtainable has been installed in the theatre by Mr. Thomas, with the seats, fixtures, and sounds equipment all being in that category.  Heavy carpeting makes the floor entirely soundproof.

In addition to the main floor of the theatre, two balconies are also provided, and each is equipped with the same furniture as the main section.  One, for colored people, is reached by steps direct from the entrance while the other is accessible from an inside stairway.  Each provides a complete view of the stage from any seat.

Fayetteville's largest neon sign presents the theatre to the public, a huge "FAYETTE" being visible from any point on the part of Route 19-21, which touches the city.

The theatre will open by presenting "That Certain Age," Mr. Thomas said.


Fayette County Historical Society

A tradition of Service & Dedication

For 73 years, the Fayette County Historical Society has stood as a symbol of the dedication of Fayette County men and women to see their history preserved for future generations.  Today, the Society continues to work toward that goal  with enthusiasm and determination.

The Society can trace its beginnings to the foresight of two Fayette County educators who recognized the need to record the early history of the area while it was still available.  These two men were J.T. Peters and H.B. Cardin.  Their plan was to compile and publish the first comprehensive History of Fayette County and to use this publication to preserve the information which lived on only in the memories of the few remaining early settlers. 

Fortunately, Peters and Cardin soon discovered that they were not alone in their belief that an effort needed to be made to preserve and record the history of the area.  By 1920, they had interested 24 other citizens of the county in their project.  These men recruited their support to the newly formed Fayette County Historical Society.

J.T. Peters was elected to the office of President, with H.B. Cardin to serve as Secretary for the new organization.  The very first project undertaken by the new group was to research, write, and publish a History of Fayette County.  The task which Peters and Cardin had agreed to undertake was an enormous one but they tackled the challenge with energy and an amazing dedication to research.  The was no previous written record for them to consult for the necessary information.  The data for the history had to be collected from a combination of interviews with local residents and courthouse records.  So great was the task that they had undertaken that the publication of A History of Fayette County would take six years to complete.   In 1926, the Peters & Cardin History of Fayette County was released to the public and met with overwhelming approval.  Even today, this first history sponsored by the Society remains the principal reference column for those researching the history of the area.  

It had been the intention of this first Society merely to see that the county history was published.   However, throughout the seven decades of its existence, the Fayette County Historical Society has stepped forward time and time again to make an effort to save important elements of area history.  The next big project undertaken by the Society was in 1960, when a drive was begun to raise the funds to purchase the homestead of Colonel G.W. Imboden at Ansted.  The Imboden home was located on the old James River and Kanawha Turnpike and had been constructed in the 1830's.  The intention of the Society was to preserve this historical building and to furnish it as a county museum. 

As they had in 1920, Fayette County citizens responder eagerly to this Society project and the funds raised were more than enough to purchase the property and finance the restoration of the house.  Descendants of pioneer families of the area willingly donated family antiques with which to furnish the building.   These furnishings included everything from a wooden baby cradle, antique toys, a 'fainting sofa', and a handmade wooden desk from the home of Governor Okey Patteson.   The new museum was christened "Contentment", which was the name that Mrs. Imboden had given to her Fayette County home.

The Society continued to gather artifacts from Fayette County history and later opened a separate museum beside the former Imboden home.  The museum collection included an extensive display of Civil War artifacts and a collection of historical photographs of towns throughout the county.  In an area called "Milady's Shoppe", the wedding gown of Mrs. Imboden is on display along with a photograph of her on her wedding day.

In 1965, historical society President George Eads led the organization as it embarked upon a project to add a third building to the Contentment complex.  One room school houses which played such an important part in the education of residents for generations were disappearing from the landscape as they were replaced by larger, more modern buildings.   Officials of the Society believed that an effort should be made to preserve this important educational era of our history.  A plan was devised to raise funds that would allow the Society to purchase one of the few remaining buildings and move it to the Contentment complex.

A financial drive to do this again met with success and the plan was put into action.  Two schoolhouses, one at Koontz and one at Minter, were donated to the Society by the Board of Education.  The remnants of the two buildings were combined into the present one-room schoolhouse building which stands at Contentment.  The schoolhouse is an authentic representation of the its era, including McGuffey Readers and a Burnside pot-bellied stove.  The one-room school house was officially opened to the public on July 1, 1967.

Today the Fayette Country Historical Society continues its efforts to record and preserve the history of the area.   In 1992, the Society undertook a uniquely fitting project - the reprinting of the original Peters and Cardin History of Fayette County.  The reprint proved to be as popular as the original had been and once again this valuable record of Fayette County history was available to the public and not limited to the shelves of a few fortunate collectors.

Under the leadership of President Dale Payne, the Society has undertaken an energetic move to continue its tradition of making the history of Fayette County's best known historian, Reverend Shirley Donnelly.  Three collections of Donnelly's work, known as the Keepsake series have been combined into one book to make the full set available at low cost to the public.  Another work by Donnelly, The Hatfield and McCoy Feud, has also been reprinted by the Society and is once again available.

However, as important as this type of project is, the historical society does not intend to limit itself to acting as a publisher of historical works.  This program heralds the successful completion of the most ambitious project by the Society in 25 years - the restoration and reopening of the Fayette Theatre.

With the support of Tom Louisos, Fayette County Legislator, the historical society worked for over a year to complete the enormous undertaking of resorting the theatre.  Members and officers acted as everything from interior decorators, to building consultants, to painters as they maintained their determination to see this historic showplace open on time.

The Fayette Theatre officially opened its doors on June, 20 1993 with a special performance by Charlie McCoy.  This performance marked both an end and a new beginning for Society members.  It was a fitting landmark with which to mark the successful completion of the Society's goal to restore the theatre.  However, it also announced the beginning for a new showplace of Fayette County talent and heritage.

Now that the restoration is complete, the Fayette Theatre acts as a showplace for theatre productions featuring local actors and based on themes dealing with Appalachian life.  Musicians who keep alive the music of the mountains will perform there on a regular basis.  Artist and craftsmen will be invited to take advantage of the theatre in order to display their work.

Although the opening of the Fayette Theatre in 1993 seems a long way from the writing of the History of Fayette County in 1920, it is merely a different way to achieve the same goal.  J.T. Peters and H.B. Cardin first formed the Fayette County Historical Society in order to put our history in a form in which it could be preserved and shared.   The performances at the Fayette Theatre are designed to share our local traditions and talent with the people who come to Fayette County from all over the world.

There is little doubt in my mind that Peters & Cardin were smiling with pride on the opening day of the Fayette Theatre.  For almost 75 years after it was formed, the Fayette County Historical Society continues to work diligently to see that our history remains alive.

 

 

PAST SHOWS

   

  • The Wizard of Wobbling Rock
  • Little Women
  • Translations
  • Faith Healer
  • The Little Princess
  • War is Hell
  • New River Nell
  • Its a Wonderful life
  • Fox Fire
  • Steel Magnolias
  • More Fun than Bowling
  • Grace and Glory (1st place winner 2000 Theatre Festival)
  • Beyond the Mountains (World Premiere)
  • A Promise Kept (World Premiere)
  • Christmas 1934
  • Women Must weep
  • Smoke on the Mountain (Invited and performed in Wales and England 2000)
  • Jack and the Giant
  • Cinderella
  • Robin Hood
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Emperors New Clothes
  • A Little Christmas Spirit
  • Play On
  • Spreading the News (2nd place 1997 Theatre Festival)
  • Haunting of Hill House
  • Murder is in the Heir
  • Crazy Quilt Club
  • Bully (the Story of Teddy Roosevelt)
  • Amelia Earhart

 

 

HistoricFayetteTheatre.com