MA-North Adams - Mohawk - Special New England Collection (Header)

FOCUS ON 2013 CONCLAVE: Mohawk Theater, North Adams, MA

Our tenth venue visit on 2013′s Conclave Theatre Tour will be to:
MA-North Adams - Mohawk - Special New England Collection (Header)
111 Main Street, North Adams, MA
OPENED: November 5, 1938
ARCHITECT: Mowll & Rand
STYLE: Art Deco

The Mohawk Theater opened its doors to the public on November 5, 1938 as part of the E.M. Loew chain, designed by Mowll and Rand of Boston and featured an Art Deco interior with Native American motifs. The original single-balcony seated 1,200 and featured a twenty-five foot wide proscenium. The theater was built as a movie house without any significant stage area or fly loft in which to present live performances. It is the last large-screen theater in North Berkshire County, and one of the few late Art Deco style theaters remaining in the nation. Although the Mohawk Theater has deteriorated and shows signs of extensive wear, the building is still structurally sound, and the original design and décor have not been altered.

The theater operated until 1987 when the building was sold to a private investor who reopened the theater periodically for movies and occasional concerts. However, the needed capital improvements to the building’s infrastructure proved too overwhelming, and the theater closed its doors for good in 1991. On the brink of being demolished, the community said, simply: “No!”

The City and its residents recognize that The Mohawk is the last historical gem and efforts have begun to save it from destruction. In the nineties, the Chicago-based firm Daniel P. Coffey & Associates completed a thorough study that verified the building was structurally sound and was feasible to rehabilitate. The report also revealed major mechanical deficiencies that needed to be remedied.

In 1999, funding from the state’s Downtown Revitalization Program allowed the theater’s marquee to be completely restored at a cost of approximately $75,000. The restored marquee creates a colorful spectacle and is a tangible reminder of the benefits that a fully renovated theater will provide to the City.

In the fourteen years since the marquee relighting, the City has taken slow, cautious and measured steps to secure funding and continue on the path to reopening of this architectural treasure.

The Mohawk represents the second “emerging project” that the 2013 Conclave will visit which will require us to use our well-tuned vision to share the City’s enthusiasm for the future of the Mohawk. THS members “see” with different eyes – we know that falling plaster in an empty auditorium is just the opening act for a “Great Expectation!”

Emerging project, THS visit will generate attention for the project and help spotlight the value of a restored theater to the community.

(Portions of the text courtesy of the Mohawk Theater website.)

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