A 93-year-old theater in downtown Coffeyville, Kansas is getting some love after sitting empty for years. A recent fundraising campaign hopes to bring it back to life.
Darrel Harbaugh used to run the projector at the Midland Theater. When it closed its doors back in 1998, the building is far from its glory days of silent films and vaudeville acts.
"Obviously, as you can see, there's been some water damage," Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh is now the President of the Midland Theater Foundation. The foundation has recently launched a $3 million capital campaign to bring the theater back to life.
"Right now, we are working on the fundraising for the front of the house and the backstage and we're really close to our goal," Harbaugh said.
The Midland Theater Foundation hopes to not only save the historic building but to make it a cultural hub in Coffeyville for generations to come.
They hope to use the theater as a community center for events like children's theater, Ted Talks, and live music.
"Any of those events that we can have in our town that are able to enrich our community, our children, I think that's a huge piece for us," foundation vice president Lisa Scheck said.
Scheck said she didn't spend much time in the Midland growing up, but she has a passion to save the building.
"I have three small children and I want to be able to show them the history of Coffeyville and be able to work on something that can give back to so many other generations," Scheck said.
The foundation hopes to have at least part of the building renovated and open in about a year and a half. By then, they hope people can see inside and be inspired to donate so the rest can be done by 2028 in time for the theater's 100th birthday.
"When you walk through it, you can just feel the history,” Scheck said. “We're hoping to restore all of that beauty and all of that glory and get people back in here to use it again. I mean it is an incredible space,” Scheck said.
The foundation also hopes this major project acts as a jumping off point to revitalize downtown Coffeyville, as well. To learn more about the project, you can click here.