By Jeff Small
Edwardsville, IL (KSDK) - William Howard Taft was our president when a local theatre opened its doors. Edwardsville's Wildey Theatre had a long run but wasn't able to survive in later years. A massive restoration project was just completed and now an important part of Illinois history is back.
A packed house came to celebrate the grand reopening of downtown's 102-year-old Wildey Theatre. In the 1960s The Wildey Theatre was a grand place where Richard Burroughs got his first job paying 50 cents an hour.
"It's different because its modernized but the longer I am here this evening the old Wildey still comes out," said former worker Richard Burroughs.
It took a dedicated group of volunteers, politicians and concerned citizens to bring the Wildey back to life. There were also numerous donations to make the dream of reopening the Wildey a reality.
"There are a lot of memories and it's a wonderful experience and the fact they have so much community support, they deserve credit," said patron Eva Ferguson.
Keeping with a historic theme, women were given yellow roses as they entered the theatre, just as the did 102 years ago.