10. Doors

Restored doors to the Auburn Schine Theater are revealed in January 2007.

Provided

Sept. 15, 1938 — The Auburn Schine Theater opens. Designed by lauded architect John Eberson, ground broke in February on the 1,702 art deco movie palace, which featured four dressing rooms and state-of-the-art lighting, projection, climate control and acoustics. The movie screened on opening night was "Four's a Crowd," starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.

1965 — Schine Chain Theatres owners Junius Myer and Louis Schine sell their holdings to Lawrence Wien and Harry B. Helmsley. Subsequent operators included the Panther and Galaxy theater companies. 

April 13, 1978 — The Schine closes. The last movie to be shown there was the X-rated Nazisploitation film "Madam Kitty."

May 31, 1978 — Pentagon Realty purchases the theater, and turns it into Auburn Music Hall until 1980.

Dec. 19, 1980 — The Schine molts again into Charlie's Night Club. Renovations included the removal of seats from the rear of the auditorium, the leveling of its floor and the addition of a bar in 1980. The following year, more seats were removed, this time from the front of the auditorium, and a dance floor was added. The club would close in 1983.

July 1985 — John Pettigrass Jr., whose family owned the building through Pentagon Realty, and Jim Loperfido open Who's on First Video. It would close in June 1992, leaving the Schine vacant.

Spring 1993 — As public interest in the theater's renovation grows, the Auburn Industrial Development Authority commissions a 1993 feasibility study by Dan Coffey & Associates on the space's future as a multi-purpose civic and performing arts center. Coffey estimates its renovation cost to be $3 million.

September 1994 — The Schine is listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places, qualifying it for grant money to fund renovations made in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.

1994 — Wegmans acquires an option to buy the Schine and, in the face of community outrage at its proposed demolition, lets the option expire in December.

January 1996 — The Cayuga County Arts Council receives guarantee of a $88,000 grant from the state historic preservation office toward purchase and renovation of the Schine.

Feb. 3, 1998 — The council, led by new board president Dick Mahlstedt and a subcommittee called the Friends of Auburn Schine Theater, purchases the Schine.

1998-2003 — The council receives an additional seven grants from the state Environmental Protection Fund, HUD and the Empire State Development Corporation totalling more than $850,000. The money funds masonry repair, the patching of the Schine's leaky roof and other stabilization measures.

March 2000 — The council has the Schine placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Spring 2002 — Bouley Associates completes repair of the Schine's roof.

2003 — Todd Gaglianese resigns as building manager of the Schine, making him the last of several FAST members to leave the restoration project following an internal debate within the Cayuga County Arts Council over whether the Schine or arts advocacy should be its primary mission.

September 2004 — About to restore electricity to the Schine, the council, led by new board President Dia Carabajal, estimates the project will cost $4.3 million and be finished by 2012.

January 2007 — The restored art deco front doors and ticket booth to the Schine are unveiled.

2010 — Loperfido becomes president of the arts council board, with Collin Sullivan as vice president, and Carabajal remaining a member as she joins the Auburn school board.

March 2010 — The Save Our Schines advocacy group is formed.

April 2013 — A portion of a $50,000 Brownfield grant to the city of Auburn goes toward creating an asbestos abatement plan for the Schine.

2014 — Project manager Todd Coleman, of Bouley Associates, spearheads public cleanups at the Schine and other forms of outreach to both the public and the arts council's critics. He leaves Bouley, and thus the Schine project, later in the year.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcoxFormer Cayuga County Arts Council member and Schine building manager Todd Gaglianese contributed to this timeline.

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