2006-2013: Re-Discovery & Development

Theater Reappears, Interest Grows

Late Dec 2006: The former Avery movie theater was “rediscovered” after its 1970s false front was removed.

March 29, 2007 — YIELD Students present a $521.29 check to Chamber of Commerce President Barb Eisenmenger as the proceeds from their fundraiser among the Garner-Hayfield student body to “Restore the Avery.”

April, 2007 — The State Historical Center of Iowa agreed to send an advisor with its Technical Advisory Network (TAN). Preservation Architect Douglas Steinmentz of Cedar Rapids came to Garner in his capacity as a TAN Advisor. With the TAN program the State Historical Society pays for the advisor’s time, while the host pays for mileage & per diem charges. The program allows for one site visit by a TAN Advisor, followed by a report of findings.

April 14, 2007 — “A Night in Hollywood” Adult Prom was held at the Garner Country Club as a Movie Theatre Renovation Fundraiser.

June 2007 — State Historical Society of Iowa awards the restoration project a REAP/Historical Resources Development Program (HRDP) grant. The Avery project is one of 30 to be funded with State monies from fiscal year 2008, which begins July 2, 2007. The project was awarded $13,360 to develop a Master Plan for restoration, as well as create an application for consideration among the National Register of Historic Places.

July 2007 — Deusey Days, Featured on KIMT News at 6 PM; collected personal memories and interviews.

Sept. 10, 2008 — Committee member and theater historian Jill Blank conducts interviews at Senior Citizen Center at Garner Public Library. Earlier interviews were held with residents of Concord Care Center and Prairie View Assisted Living.

October 15, 2007 – The Avery John K & Luise V Hanson Foundation awarded the “Restore the Avery Theater” project $25,000 for the purpose of replacing the roof.

October 25, 2008 — Beta Sigma Phi sororities hosted two fashion shows at American Espresso Coffee Café restaurant as a fundraiser for the Avery rehabilitation project.

November 12, 2008 — Avery building, located at 495 State Street, Garner, is added to the National Register for Historic Places. View (or download) the NRHP Application.

December 28, 2008 — Garner Main Street, Inc., purchases the Avery building from Jason Johnson of Rockledge Holding, LLC.

June 2009: Original red tile of the lobby area is rediscovered after the removal of carpeting during a volunteer workday.

July 8, 2009 – “The Producers,” a select group of civic minded individuals and local business owners, made significant contributions to purchase the theater building so that restoration efforts could begin in earnest.

Aug. 31, 2009 – The Hancock County Foundation awarded the Avery Theater project $7,500 for the purpose of tuck-pointing and repair of the brick façade.

Oct. 2009 – A Chili Cook-off, held in the theater building during Garner’s annual Fall Festival, helped build awareness of the project and raised funds for the overall efforts.  Prior to this event, the façade of the building receives temporary “faux storefronts” that are reminiscent of the original retail spaces.

Dec. 2, 2009 – The family-oriented film, “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” is shown inside the theater building as part of Garner’s Holiday Stroll festivities.

Jan. 8, 2010 – The Liberty Bank Foundation gave $3,000 to the Avery restoration project.

June 2010 – Work is completed on the repair of the exterior of the building, including tuckpointing, cleaning, and the repair or replacement of damaged areas.

November 2010 — The Worth County Development Authority awarded $14,250 to Garner Main Street, Inc.’s Restoration of the Avery Theater for the purpose of brick façade restoration.

Dec. 14, 2010 – The John K & Luise V Hanson Foundation awarded $30,000 to Restore the Avery Theater for the purpose of the purchase and installation of a new HVAC system.

Dec. 16, 2010 —The Hancock County Foundation awarded $7,500 to the Garner Main Street project to restore the Avery theater for the purpose of removal of the theater’s former HVAC system.

Jan. 21, 2011 – The Liberty Bank Foundation gave $3,000 to the overall restoration efforts of the Avery Theater.

April 2011 – “There’s No Place Like Home” was the theme of Gala Night fundraiser held at the Duncan Community Center. The formal event also celebrated the 80th Anniversary of the 1931 Grand Opening of the Avery Theater.

April 20, 2011 – Drs. Tesene, Maurer and Maurer of Family Dentistry in Garner donated $25,200 to the “Coming Attractions” Capital Campaign.

April 27, 2011 – Clear Lake Bank and Trust presented a letter of intent, pledging to donate $12,000 to the Avery’s “Coming Attractions” Capital Campaign.

March 2, 2011 – The Garner Rotary Club made a multi-year pledge over five years of up to $10,000 in matching funds for the “Marquee Challenge” that was extended to the various reunion classes of the Garner-Hayfield School District.

Sept. 2011 — Friends of Garner Public Library made a donation of $100 to the Avery restoration effort.

Dec. 21, 2011 – The Hancock County Foundation awarded $7,500 to the Avery restoration effort for the purpose of installing the electrical system and ductwork for the new HVAC system.

Jan.  2012 – The John K & Luise V Hanson Foundation awarded $13,500 to the Avery Theater for the purpose of removal of the concrete floor and fill material used to level the floor in 1970.

Aug. 2012 – The Ferrer Endowment Foundation awarded $3,000 to the Avery Theater restoration effort for the installation of plumbing for theater .

June 2012 – The John K & Luise V Hanson Foundation awarded $5,000 to the Avery Theater for the purpose of replacing the windows on the front façade.

Nov. 7, 2012 – New Doors and Windows are installed at the Avery building.

Dec. 2012 — Friends of Garner Public Library made a donation of $250 to the Avery restoration effort.  Interior walls begin to be constructed. A public Open House is held during a “work day” to showcase the project’s progress.

Feb. 2013 – The Wa-Tan-Ye of Garner gave $500 to the theater restoration effort.

March 2013  — Garner-Hayfield YIELD Students presented a $1,053 check to help purchase theater seats.

April 2013 – The Garner Lions Club gave $500 to help purchase theater seats.

April 2013 – The Vision Iowa Board awarded the Avery Theater project a $45,000 Community Attraction & Tourism (CAT) Grant. It was the largest award of three announced at this time.

April 19, 2013 – A Public Open House is held allowing the community to walk inside the building and see the significant restoration that has already been accomplished.

May 29, 2012 – The canopy that supports the new electronic theater marquee is installed on the support beams of the original canopy.

July 2013 – Carole Lemon is hired as the part-time manager of the Avery; Tami Helland is hired as the assistant manager, also a part time position.

July 12-13, 2013 — The 2013 Duesey Days theme is “On with the Show!” An Open House at the nearly-completed movie theater is held on that Saturday.

Aug. 10-11, 2013 – The movie “Iron Man 3” is shown by special invitation to groups of donors during a soft opening of the movie theater. It opens to the public the following week with the movie “Despicable Me 2.”

Aug. 14, 2013 — The Leader publishes a commemorative 2-part tabloid in honor of the completion of the Avery Theater’s rehabilitation and restoration efforts. View (or download) it here:

  • Avery Theater Tabloid, part 1
  • Avery Theater Tabloid, part 2