A landmark on the Lebanon Square is once again finding its stride. The famous Capitol Theater has been restored and recently reopened.
"This has been the heart of Lebanon for many, many years, and it almost lost its heart," said owner Bob Black.
When the Capitol Theater opened on Dec. 9, 1949, it was the place to be on a Saturday. That atmosphere is what Black wanted to bring back to the square when he bought the property in 2009.
"I've always had a passion for old theaters as I was growing up," he said.
But the marquee on West Main Street lost its sparkle, and the walls were crumbling since the doors closed in 1980.
"A lot of things were wrong with it, a lot of broken pieces out of the front. But I thought, 'there's got to be some value to what this meant for this town,'" Black said.
He was right. The sentimental value was obvious for folks in Wilson County.
"And they would literally just stand in the theater and cry, and they would tell me stories about where their first kiss was," Black said.
Those kind of wonderful stories motivated him to spend a year making plans for the old theater.
"We wanted to be able to do more than just movies and old matinees," Black said. "We wanted to be able to do live theater. We wanted a building to do live receptions, weddings, corporate events, whatever we could possibly come up with."
The big picture was overwhelming at times, especially since Black wasn't about to sacrifice the building's history.
"The ceiling is the original ceiling line, and we were able to capture and recreate the colors," he said.
The bathroom signs are original, and the chandeliers were brought in to complete the old art deco style. Already, folks are lining up at the box office to make new memories.
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