August 30, 2019 – West Bend, WI – When Poblocki Sign Company began creating architectural signage in 1932, movie theaters were becoming the rage. Theaters had to capture attention from passing cars, and so the signage extended outward closer to the street and overhanging canopies were introduced.
The blade signs on the side of the building allowed people to see the theater from a distance. There was scrollwork, chasing lights, hundreds of light bulbs, flashing words and a lot of excitement. The canopies earned the name “electric tiaras.”
Over the years, the theater signs have become a street marker and identification for area businesses directing customers. The signage has also started to deteriorate from weather, age and materials available at the time. Fortunately, there is a resurgence of people interested in preserving historical towns and buildings. Many communities involved in downtown revitalization and historical theater renovation have made signage the hallmark of their efforts.
The Historic West Bend Theatre in West Bend, Wisconsin opened in 1929 and has an active board of directors tasked with the theater restoration project. The fundraising goal to restore the theater is an aggressive $3.5 million. They have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support for this project as $2.3 million has already been donated by the community. Another $1.2 million will likely be raised through prospective government credits and grants.
The sentiment within the West Bend community is that this sign is an icon of the city. Many people are nostalgic and reminiscent of some childhood connection to the theater. Some contributors even had their first kiss there. This emotional remembrance has led to support unlike any the board have seen before on fundraising initiatives. The board is extremely grateful to the community and excited to return the theater to its grandeur.
The Historic West Bend Theatre will “re-light” their historic blade sign on Thursday, September 5 at 5:30 p.m. at 125 Main Street.
The “electric tiara” includes 478 light bulbs and 460 LED lamps within the blade sign. The sign has…. click HERE to read the rest of the story.