I can still remember that day we started scanning this theater in an attempt to save it – that day was abuzz with people helping to clean out and help out with scanning at the Rivoli Theater in Pendleton, Oregon.
I had 2 college guys setting up 3D laser scan targets for me while several others hauled out all the old theater seats from the theater for destination ‘landfill’. It was remarkable how much everyone accomplished in just a few hours. One commented that it was amazing to have all the help today in the restoration process but at the same time, he shared a feeling of being overwhelmed with the amount of work yet to do. One step at a time…
I think that is the nature of this business of historical preservation/restoration. Passion is discussed by many, but the work is accomplished by a few. Sometimes it can feel like an open prairie with tumbleweeds and a lot of ground to cover when digging into a cause.
What an amazing structure this is though. It will be totally worth the restoration. It is believed the basement connects to the Chinese Tunnel system but has been sealed off. That will need to be cleared out. There is also an old and amazing HVAC system in those crawl spaces made entirely of wood that is about 6′ across and 3′ tall connected to a massive fan with pedals the size of oar blades. It’s the most bizarre HVAC I’ve ever seen and the following day, we scanned it. It could be that this piped cool air from the tunnels into the theater. There also used to be a Wurlitzer Pipe Organ which was THE 1920’s theater music maker.
There are some projects that just “stick” with you – maybe it was all the team effort that everyone contributed for a unified cause, maybe it was just knowing that we, in some small way, were making history.
I must say, I miss that space already.