Efforts to save the historic Bonham Theatre in downtown Fairbury continue to draw the attention of movie-goers, historians and charity organizations across the nation. Bonham Theatre Project treasurer Debby Ebke reports that donations have come from as far away as Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Washington, Texas and Illinois. Men and women, young and old have sent donations for the revitalization of the Bonham Theatre,” according to Ebke.
According to BTP records, several donations are from former employees of the Bonham. ” Interestingly, some of their names are inscribed on the walls in the Bonham basement,” according to Diane Schutt, BTP board president.
The following excerpts are from letters and messages received by the Bonham Theatre Project:
Dear Mrs. Ebke:
Enclosed is my donation toward the support of the Bonham Theatre Project.
I grew up in Fairbury, not without being an avid Bonham attendee, being “held” by dramas, melodramas, mysteries, westerns, comedies, musicals, horrors, swashbucklers, serials, newsreels, and previews of coming attractions! In addition, I recall with fondness my days as an usher at the Bonham during my late teens, the late 1940‘s, under Ira Crain, manager.
It is therefore with pleasure that I extend this donation to “my old friend,” the Bonham Theatre, with every good wish for its successful restoration.
A more recent employee and donor sent this message:
“As a former Bonham employee, I just want to say thank you for all the work you, Schutt, and all the others have done.”
Many donations have come with sentimental notes:
“During 1950 through 1952 my to-be husband and I had many dates at the Bonham Theatre. In memory of him and our good times together at the Theatre, I would like to donate to its restoration.”
Other donations have come with no connection to Fairbury or the Bonham Theatre, specifically:
Dear Board and Members,
The enclosed donation comes from The Giving Group, a small group of women that meet once a month and contribute to a “pot”, the person hosting for the month chooses where the donation will go. As a former small town girl from South Dakota, the Bonham Theatre Project written up in the Journal Star caught my interest. Brooke’s comment, “…not let another building rot” sadly is so true of many once wonderful small towns. (Like mine.)
I’ve chosen your project to donate to because I admire the initiative you’re taking.
To become a member of the Bonham Theatre Project or to donate towards the restoration of the theatre, log on to www.BonhamTheatreProject.org.