GLOVERSVILLE — After years of frustration, setbacks and meticulous restoration work, the underside lights of the Glove Theatre’s iconic marquee on Saturday lit up North Main Street for the first time in a long time.
James Hannahs, president of the Glove Theatre’s Board of Directors, spoke to a crowd of theater supporters and interested members of the public Saturday prior to the countdown to the re-lighting.
“Thanks to the [Gloversville High School] class of 1967, Nancy St. Thomas and the Glove Board, we’ve been able to illuminate the sidewalk again, highlighting an upcoming, bright, prosperous new year,” Hannahs said.
Saturday marked the end of a big week for the Glove Theatre. On Monday, Gov. Kathy Hochul visited the 1914-vintage venue to announce the 12 economic development projects that will be funded by the city’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative state grant — the largest of the projects being a $1.9 million restoration of the theater’s interior, including repair of its plaster walls and installation of a new HVAC system, among other improvements.
Hannahs described the planned improvement projects at the Glove.
“As far as the timing goes, our aim is the walls — I think we do the walls first, then the balcony, those will really be the first major improvements,” Hannahs said. “The good part is we budgeted-out what we asked for, and we got what we asked for. We were able to budget-in repairs to the walls. We budgeted-in balcony restoration, that’s everything from doorknobs to seats. The stage house, as well, so we were able to budget improvements to the rigging system, accesibility measures — we have to put a catwalk up there — new lighting. We have to address air conditioning.”
The $1.9 million Glove Theatre DRI project is expected to proceed much faster than the more than four years it took to get the marquee repaired and re-lit after it was first damaged by a windstorm in February 2016 and then again on Feb. 22, 2018, when a commercial truck accidentally backed into it. The second incident ultimately damaged restoration work that had already been paid for by a $15,000 donation from the GHS class of 1967 and the St. Thomas Foundation. While the truck accident resulted in another $18,000 insurance claim providing funds for the restoration, replacing vintage metal framework, straightening the sign structure and replacing metal panels proved difficult.
Glove Theatre General Manager Michael Maricondi described some of the work done to bring the marquee back into working-order.
“They had to clean out the entire underside, rewire it and outfit it with new energy-efficient Edison bulbs,” he said. “We are in the process of putting up LED curtains on the outside of the marquee that will cast [illumination evenly] in bright light. Those will be LEDs, so they will be energy efficient, and they will be put on a timer so this whole thing will be up at dusk, down at dawn.”
The Glove Theatre is one of the 78 buildings located within the Downtown Gloversville Historic District. Maricondi said Fulton County Electric did the repair work for the sign, which began roughly one year ago after being delayed during the worst parts of the Coronavirus pandemic. He said any repairs to the building or its signage had to conform to the design standards used for other area theaters that were part of the Schine-circuit of vaudeville theaters operated by J.Meyer Schine in the 1920s.
“We are a historical building, so things had to be done to historical standards, and so we needed it be like the iconic marquees,” he said. “We needed to pay homage to that.”
Maricondi said the Glove Theatre is attempting to attain a historical building designation from the New York’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), that would open up the building to more state and federal grant funding for more improvements.