BYRON – The Byron Museum of History purchased the Byron Theater in 2015 and is planning to remodel the space over the next year.
Many updates and repairs are needed, this initial phase focuses on the exterior facing Union Street and bringing back the mid-century styling of the original theater.
The final touch will be the restoration of the theater’s sign. Installed for the first time in 1948, this marquee has been in disrepair for many years. In 2016 the original sign body and letters were intact but every other piece was missing or broken. The museum was happy to have a local contractor submit the lowest bid to take on this unique project.
The letters spelling out BYRON will once again be lined in yellow neon and every socket will have a bulb. All of the rusted out hardware has been replaced with stainless steel fasteners. 240 letters and numbers were found and repainted black after removing all of the other layers of paint.
Updating the original electrical wiring, sockets, and switches was crucial to being able to use the small round yellow bulbs that would have been used throughout the 1950s. The sign’s placement back on the front of the theater is much anticipated but is dependent on more of the exterior work being completed.
Byron Museum of History is enlisting volunteers to help with the renovations to the Byron Theater building. During the month of May anyone with hands-on experience is invited to attend these work days. This is an opportunity to perform a little manual labor for posterity and have some fun. We are off to a good start because of the skilled volunteers that have generously donated their time this spring and now we are asking for a final push in May.
Almost all of the updates done by the American Legion were accomplished by volunteers. The museum’s board is sure that the needed work can get done if the local talent takes an interest in supporting the museum’s efforts to recreate this gem.
Volunteer work parties in May: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays after 3 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring your tool belt if you have one and play along as we bring these buildings into the twenty first century.
Follow the progress on Facebook. Those interested in volunteering can just show up on scheduled work days or you can call the museum to arrange the best time for you to pick up a hammer. 815-234-5031
Byron Museum District is open Wednesday-Saturday 10-3 byronmuseum.org
The mission of the Byron Museum of History is to create an awareness of and appreciation for the historical, cultural and commercial development of the Byron area through a commitment to preservation, resource management and display of historical artifacts for public benefit. ”Preserving our past for our future”