BATON ROUGE, La. — The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and Holland Entertainment LLC which operates the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La. were recently informed by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Louisiana that a hearing will be held Thursday, November 21, 2013 at the State Capitol where the Fiske Theatre will be considered for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
“This is the culmination of six years of hard work, by everyone that has been involved with the rebirth of the theatre.” Adam Holland, President of Holland Entertainment who operates the theatre said. “In 2007 when I was asked to serve as the chairman of the West Carroll Chamber’s Theatre Committee, I could see the potential for the theatre, but in no way knew she would grow to once again be one of the most respected and most attended independent movie theaters in North Louisiana.”
The current Fiske Theatre was built in 1950 by the late Donald B. Fiske of Oak Grove, La. and was designed by Architect B.W. Stevens of New Orleans in the Streamline Ultra-Moderne Art Deco style that was prevalent in movie theatre architecture of the day. In 1951 it was awarded the prestigious “Bronze Merritt Award” by the Exhibitors Theatre Catalog as being the most modern and well equipped theatre built in 1950.
“We thank Adam Holland for his leadership and commitment to preserving the theatre and his vision to bring her back as the primary entertainment hub for our community,” W.C. Chamber President H. Doug Ainsworth said. “We also thank the theatre committee and the countless volunteers and donors who made restoration of the theatre complete last summer and fall.”
Oak Grove’s Fiske Theatre is one of two remaining theatre’s in Louisiana that bear the undeniable mark of Architect B.W. Stevens, the other is the Joy Theatre on Canal Street in New Orleans which was restored and reopened in December of 2011 after it sustained major damage during Hurricane Katrina in 2006.
The Fiske’s nomination to the National Register would not have been possible without a grant from the Tulane School of Architecture that funded a team of four students and two professors to come to Oak Grove and study the Fiske this past April. Their findings and research, which will be made available to the public soon, were used in the application process. Gabrielle Begue who was a Master of Preservation Studies student in spring helped compile and edit the information included in the application to the Lt. Governor’s office.
“We are crossing our fingers and feel confident that we will get the nomination from the Louisiana State Review Committee to be included on the National Register,” Holland said. “Once this happens it will bring much more prestige to what we already know is a treasured part of our region’s history and also help attract more people to our town that travel the countryside visiting historic places thus the theater will further enhance the economy of our town and parish.”
The Fiske Theatre was donated to the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce by the late Donald B. Fiske shortly prior to his death and is operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove, La.