BUCKHANNON – An original fixture of the Colonial Arts Center will return once renovations on the Main Street theater have concluded.
Buckhannon City Council member David McCauley attended the Dec. 8 CAC board meeting to donate the Garland West treasure drawing box back to the center.
“Back in 2017, Bryson VanNostrand said he had passed on acquiring the treasure box that was used from 1930 to 1966 by Garland because they wanted too much money for it, and then he sent me a link to the fella who purchased it and had it on eBay,” McCauley said. “It still had the history of the ‘Garland West Treasure Box, Colonial Theatre,’ on it, so I inquired, but I didn’t want to pay $500 for it. I asked him if he would take $300, and he said $400, and I said how about we split the difference at $350, so that’s how I got it.”
McCauley said it was time to officially donate the treasure box to the CAC board.
“We didn’t want to have it broken or compromised or have somebody think it was just a piece of junk, so now it officially belongs where it started out — at the Colonial Theatre, way back in 1930,” McCauley said. “Construction on the theater began in the fall of 1923, and another interesting historical fact is next year will mark 100 years since the Colonial Theatre opened in 1924.”
He went over the history of the box and its intended purpose.
“It is a historical artifact that is apparently pre-Depression,” McCauley said. “During the Depression, during World War II and the Korean War, Garland West was enthralled with the Colonial from 1930 to 1966, and he would have nightly drawings. Back in those days, movies had intermissions while they changed the reels, and they would do drawings. People were hungry because it was the Depression, so they would give away bags of groceries, and that’s one of the reasons the theater was so packed.”
McCauley also asked the board to acknowledge the role Catherine Cuppari played when the theater was purchased in 2016.
“Catherine Cuppari appraised the value for the property at $148,000,” McCauley said. “I offered her $50,000, and she squeezed my hand across the lunch table and said, ‘Mr. Mayor, I’m going to give you one more chance at this, and then I’m going to walk away.’ I said I only have authority for $50,000, but I will add $10,000 of my own money and get you $60,000, then we will dedicate the foyer someday. We have a placard that will identify the Cuppari family as being the primary benefactor to getting this project started, because if she hadn’t budged off the $148,000, we wouldn’t have gotten where we are today.”
The board voted to display information at the center to note the history of Garland West and the Cupparis.