Article includes video.
The Crystal’s Curtain Call
By Jon Wilson
Published: March 25, 2010, 10:05 PM
FLANDREAU, SD – Much like the efforts to save the State Theatre in downtown Sioux Falls, the town of Flandreau faced a similar dilemma several years ago. The aging Crystal Theatre was crumbling and if the city was going to save the historical building, it was going to take a lot of manpower and money.
Flandreau’s Crystal Theatre was built in 1913 for $10,000. But the cost of keeping these doors open for nearly a century is still adding up.
“There’s several times they thought when we locked the door after that last performance, I thought that was going to be it,” Gene Odenbrett said.
Odenbrett is one of the original members of the Crystal Theatre Cultural Association, a group of volunteers determined to restore the building at whatever cost.
“The roof leaked so bad and we had to re-tuck everything and we took every stitch of electricity or electrical wiring out of here, all the plumbing, and just gutted it right to the walls,” Odenbrett said.
The restoration would be expensive and time consuming, but the workforce was in place before the board applied for its first grant.
“And we had about 400 people that had volunteered,” Odenbrett said.