Part 1: A Look Back at 100 Years of History in the Robinson Gran - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Part 1: A Look Back at 100 Years of History in the Robinson Grand Theater

Posted: Updated:

The Rose Garden Theater, better known as the Robinson Grand, has stood vacant on West Pike Street for nearly 10 years, but 100 years ago, it was in its prime.

"Claude Robinson and his brother Reuben and some associates of theirs who had offices and operations in Clarksburg decided Clarksburg could use a theater. They organized a company to build a theater here in 1912, and it opened in 1913,” said David Houchin, the Special Collections Librarian for the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library.

Now 100 years later the theater stands empty, but over the years it has been filled with different forms of art.

"It was a theater for touring productions, a playhouse exclusively. Over the next several years there was a transition, they began showing silent films and presenting vaudeville acts. It was then rebuilt for sound in 1927,” Houchin explained.

In 1927 the theater resembled what is on Pike Street now, but before that it was smaller and had a long walkway that lead to the doors.

The theater caught on fire in 1939, and was rebuilt once again.

After that is was used strictly for movies, until it was sold and reopened in 1984.

It was then used for plays, pageants, and even wedding receptions.

Houchin said he can remember going to the grand when he was a child.

"I was a kid in the 1950’s, so I had to be brought to town to see the new Disney features. The lines were long. You can say the line went around the block and it probably did the block isn't very long. That was where I saw Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and those kinds of pictures,” explained Houchin.

For the last 10 years the theater has been empty, but soon children in the area may be able to see movies at the Grand just like Houchin did in the 50's.

The city of Clarksburg has purchased the theater, learn more about its plans Wednesday on 12 News.

Powered by Frankly