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Many residents of the Four Rivers region devote their time to restoring and preserving our history. WKMS Reporters set out to meet some of those residents to produce the stories you'll find below. We get background on Kentucky's role in the forgotten war of 1812, then we meet a man who's devote much of his time to restoring honor by way of headstones to veterans of that war.Reporters Angela Hatton and Heidi Couch report on ways people in our region revert to the "old ways" to make sweet sorghum molasses and healthy teas and salves.Casey Northcutt and Shelly Baskin report on the little talked about history history of Burlesque and Moonshine.We also learn about ancient Native American Mounds in our region and how Murray State is preserving recorded conversations from nearly 45 years ago.

Columbia Club Seeks Funds to Renovate Historic Paducah Theatre

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Darlene Mazzone and Landee Bryant-Greene join us on Sounds Good to talk about the Columbia Club's efforts to raise funds to renovate Paducah's historic Columbia Theatre, a project with an estimated $6 million price tag. Mazzone says restoring the architectural gem will improve downtown economic viability and expects the donation to be put toward a feasibility study for the renovation project. Hear the conversation: 

Earlier in June, the Columbia Club received a donation off $25,000 made through the Community Foundation of West Kentucky and a $49,000 grant from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. It's an excellent start, but it will take a significant amount of more funding to bring this space back to life.

Nearly 90 years in a nutshell:

(Summarized from an article in Paducah Life Magazine, by J.T. Crawford)

The Columbia Theatre in downtown Paducah first opened on April 18, 1927 to a crowd of patrons eagerly waiting to enter the performance space. Built with state-of-the-art equipment for Hollywood's golden age (and one of the first with air-conditioning), it was a city treasure for decades. The theatre featured first-run movies, vaudeville acts and local performances until the 1970s and the expansion of the retail business and a new multiplex in the newly constructed mall area. By 1987, the Columbia operated at a loss of $50,000 per year, and the owners closed the doors. In 2003, the owner donated the space to Paducah and hopes have held for potential investors to restore the space. The initial estimate is $6 million in funding to renovate the space to a 21st century theatre, which will perhaps inspire other businesses to come to downtown Paducah. 

Read the full history on the Columbia Club Facebook page

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Proposed Plan on Columbia Club Website

Columbia Club Clean-Up Photos on Facebook

In 2009, we took a tour of the Columbia Theatre. Listen to our report.

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