The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


July 18, 2014

Party to raise funds for theater on Saturday

HOOPESTON — The Save The Lorraine Foundation has put together a block party fundraiser beginning at noon Saturday. All funds go toward the continued renovation of the Lorraine Theatre, a 92-year-old theater in downtown.

Renovation has begun on the Lorraine Theatre, with volunteers grinding the front and sides of the building to prepare for tuckpointing the entire building. Inside, old carpeting has been pulled up to be replaced by new carpeting, base painting is done, foyer floors cleaned, windows cleaned, roof repaired, water pipes repaired, seats cleaned and more.

Local designer Ashley Mott has prepared a design for the Lorraine Theatre that will be on display in the theater lobby Saturday.

The organization has 18 vendors, including three food vendors, six bands playing from 5 p.m. to midnight, kids activities from 1-4 p.m., a silent auction and concessions in the Lorraine foyer and lobby during the day and early evening, and a beer tent from 8-11:45 p.m.

For information or questions, to donate to the silent auction or volunteer to help, contact Alex Houmes at

A bit of history

The Lorraine Theatre groundbreaking took place in the spring of 1921 and was completed and opened on March 6, 1922, by Elijah J. Boorde and his son, John Rosslyn Boorde. It was later leased by John Randolph Thompson, a Chicago restauranteer and brother-in-law to Elijah Boorde. Thompson leased the theater to the Polka Brothers in 1924 who, in turn, leased it to A.B McCollum and Tracy Orr in 1925. McCollum eventually became the sole owner of the Lorraine until December 1961 when Arthur J. Nelson leased the it.

During McCollum’s ownership, he was arrested for showing a movie on a Sunday in December 1926. Showing movies was against the ordinances of Hoopeston, which forbade showing movies or skating on Sundays. He also brought talking pictures to the Lorraine in 1930 and totally remodeled the inside and marque in 1937, adding a balcony inside.

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