Athena’s Gem, Inc. is pleased to announce a $200,000 grant award from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for renovation of the Gem Theatre/Star Saloon in Athena.
This award will serve as a match to release the funds from another $200,000.00 grant awarded in November 2013 by the Ford Family Foundation.
The project has now progressed far enough fiscally to allow construction to begin while at the same time we will continue the grant and fund raising campaign for the remainder needed to finish the project. The groundbreaking will occur this coming summer.
The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust was created in 1975 by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, a co-founder of Tektronix, Inc. of Beaverton Oregon and a resident of Vancouver, Washington. The Trust’s current assets are valued at about $800 million and over the life of the Trust more than $658 million has been distributed through 4,818 grants. The Trust’s mission is to enrich the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest by providing grants to organizations that seek to strengthen the region’s educational, cultural, and spiritual base in creative and sustainable ways.
For more information, visit them at www.Murdock-Trust.org.
Over the past weekend (Feb 28-Mar 1), volunteers removed the balcony seats from the Gem.
These seats had not been outside in 96 years, having been installed in 1919 by Colonel Boyd—proprietor of what was then called the “Standard Theatre.”
The seats were old then! They were originally installed in the Cosy Theatre on Main Street in Pendleton—the first “moving picture” house in Umatilla County, having opened in 1906.
These historic seats, although not very comfortable, will be restored and re-installed in the balcony of the new Gem.
When the theatre was remodeled again in 1938, most of these seats were lost. The sixty in the balcony remain of the original 300.