Elizabethton Star, July 1, 2016
Step One, Complete: Bonnie Kate Ready for Renovations
BY CURTIS CARDEN
After two years of a hiatus, expect foot traffic to pick up at one of Elizabethton’s famous structures.
The Elizabethton-Carter County Community Foundation (ECCF) stood alongside city and county officials to present their check of $111,700 to the City of Elizabethton for the purchase of the Bonnie Kate Theatre Thursday.
“Today is the last step of the first ladder and the first step of the next ladder,” said John Huber, a local business owner and key cog in securing the building. “That includes the restoration. The building is in the city hands so we can move forward now with renovations.”
Elizabethton City Council members convened in a special-called meeting on prior to the presentation to amend the 2015-16 budget to recognize the purchase of the building.
Following the check presentation, the city will turn around and pay the owners the funds to begin work. The grant award was presented to the city of June 9.
“This is a great thing, the Bonnie Kate is a landmark here in Elizabethton, Carter County and East Tennessee,” Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander said. “We’re just glad to have it back and be part of it.There is no tax revenue … no tax money or government money went into this purchase. The East Tennessee Foundation raised the funds to purchase the building. This is a very exciting time.”
Elizabethton Star, November 10, 2016
Bonnie Kate Renovator Uncovers Piece of History
As restoration work continues at Elizabethton’s Bonnie Kate Theater, the old theater’s history is slowly, but surely being uncovered, and a local art gallery owner is seeing to it that at least one old treasure — dating back to the 1940s — is restored to its former glory.
John Huber, who is spearheading the Bonnie Kate Theater restoration project, recently uncovered a piece of nostalgia as he worked in the upstairs rooms over the theater.
There, he discovered an ornate plaster plaque, awarded to the theater in honor of its patriotic efforts during World War II. Its inscription reads, “This plaque is awarded to the Bonnie Kate Theater, a member of the War Activities Committee of the Motion Picture Industry, for Outstanding Service in World War II.”
Huber says he can only guess that it was given as thanks to the theater for showing war clips and perhaps selling war bonds during World War II.
“ I don’t think those rooms upstairs had been used in a long time,” he said. “ I was working to clean out those spaces and I found this. I am assuming it probably hung in the lobby a long time ago.”
Whatever its story, the piece has been tucked away for quite some time, Huber says, and now it is time for it to be restored and admired by future patrons of the theater once work is complete.“ I think it’s important that the war department would honor the Bonnie Kate Theater for the service they did during the war,” Huber said. “