The Ottumwa Courier


November 1, 2013

If walls could talk


In addition, there will be a special showing of the music video pitch sent to Mumford & Sons in hopes of bringing them to Ottumwa next summer for their music festival. The video is fashioned in homage to one of their hits, "I Will Wait." The OHS Meistersingers will wrap up the evening with a performance of the song.

Much of the excitement around the project is that very few people have been in the building since it closed. The Legacy Foundation opened the doors Friday for a short walking tour back in time.

Contractor Geoff Kent said that many people wouldn't recognize the building now from the last time they saw a movie there. Fifty Dumpsters of just trash have been hauled out, and the four-screen layout has been changed to a one-screen theater area.

"You have to use your imagination. There's not a whole lot here," Kent said, leading the way through the now-empty 1,174-seat Capri Theater.

The goal now is to get heat, air and electricity into the building, which is now being lit with lamps and generators. The "fun part," everyone said, would be turning the water back on for the first time and finding where the leaks might be.

As cleanup progressed, Kent and his crew have come across many relics from the theaters' days gone by. The Capitol yielded up a 1959 movie poster for the Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds film, "It Started With a Kiss." An old newspaper between layers of hardwood floor in the Capitol told of a 1937 game between the Negro world champion softball team, The Chicago Hottentots, and the Ottumwa All-Stars at the YMCA field.

"If the walls could talk" isn't just a saying after looking at the walls throughout the theaters. Each has layer after layer of exposed paint and wallpaper, taking you on a trip back through the stylistic history of the building.

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