106 East B St, Iron Mountain MI 49801

LHAT Annual Conference and Theatre Tour in New York City
July 2014
From FOTB Board Secretary Audrey Smith:

I just got back from the Big Apple. It was fantastic! About 400 people attended the LHAT Annual Conference. I toured 14 theatres, attended many educational sessions, and met dozens of people who work in all aspect of theater!

While in New York, I got this message in a fortune cookie:  “A mentor is someone whose hindsight can become your foresight.” I feel this is a perfect description of how LHAT works. The members of LHAT are so generous with sharing their experiences - good and bad - and passing on the knowledge they have gained by operating historic theaters and arts centers.

I learned that FOTB is doing a lot of things right. We can attribute much of this to our years of membership in LHAT – although this is the first time a member of FOTB attended the LHAT conference, we have been using their online resources for years. I also learned about a lot of things we need to pay attention to that maybe weren’t quite on our radar before.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: The conference chair told us that, historically, theaters were generally in one district on the outskirts of the city. Theaters were built to last 20-25 years – after that time had passed, the city had grown up around them, the land they were on was desirable for other uses, and so new theaters were built in a new district on the new outskirts of the city. Many of the theaters near Times Square were built in the 1910’s and ‘20’s, probably with the same mindset that they would only last a couple of decades until a new theater district was formed. This time, however, the city grew so fast that the Broadway/Times Square theaters were boxed in, and that has been the location of the Theatre District to this day.

What I find interesting about this is that, even though they were not meant to last 100 years, these buildings are absolutely gorgeous, and with care, they HAVE lasted 100 years or nearly so. It makes me think that the Braumart building – of the same era – can, with care, also become a jewel right here in Iron Mountain.


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