BELLEFONTAINE – The historic Holland Theatre is delighted to announce that the theater has received a pledge of $200,000 from the Jeffris Family Foundation in Janesville, Wisconsin, to build and install a replica of the original marquee. Removed in the 1950s due to street expansion and traffic, the marquee was a striking feature of the theater when it opened in 1931 and the decades that followed.
The Jeffris pledge is a 1 to 2 match that requires the theater to raise $400,000 over three years, beginning this month. The fundraising campaign will be launched in the coming weeks, giving community members a chance to participate in the re-lighting of this local landmark.
Established in 1979 by Bruce and Eleanor Jeffris and their son Tom, the Jeffris Family Foundation seeks to preserve the cultural history and heritage of small Midwest towns through the preservation of regionally and nationally important historic buildings and decorative arts projects. The foundation supports significant projects that strive for high preservation standards and show a strong degree of local support.
This is the second time the Holland has worked with the foundation, which played a major role in the theater’s interior restoration. The nation’s only atmospheric Dutch theater had fallen into disrepair in the 1990s after being converted into a cineplex but was saved from demolition when a local teacher and students took an interest in the structure. Buoyed by community support and government and private grants – including support from the Jeffris Family Foundation – the theater completed a multimillion-dollar restoration in 2019.
“The Holland’s interior restoration was one of the most successful projects we’ve ever funded, so we’re thrilled to be working with the theater again,” said Tom Jeffris.