Historical Society program to highlight theatre building

Mike Piepel presenting history of Sierra Theatre building, an entertainment center for 130 years

Sierra Community TheatreMike Piepel of Jefferson will present the history of the Sierra Community Theatre building at the Greene County Historical Society’s June meeting, set for Friday (June 6) at Central Christian Church in Jefferson.

The theatre building was built in the 1880s as the Head Brothers Opera House by early business and civic leaders Mahlon and Albert Head. It was later transformed into a silent movies house, then was adapted for “talkies,” and had name changes to the Majestic, Strand, Iowa and, in the 1970s, the Sierra Theatre. Many persons living in Greene County will recall seeing “Westerns” on Saturday afternoon for five cents.

Piepel served on the public committee that, in 2012 and 2013, took ownership of the building from Fridley Theatres; installed new projection equipment and a screen for digital movies; made many renovations to the building, and now operates the facility as a community movie house. It was a $200,000 project, paid for with donations.

His program will be at 1 pm in the church sanctuary, and is free and open to the public.

Lunch at the church will be at 12 noon, for $8 per meal, with all proceeds going to the church. RSVPs for lunch should be phoned by 5 pm on Wednesday to the Historical Society’s community contacts: Marilynn Hoskinson, Jefferson 515-386-3490; Helen Eason, Scranton 712-652-3878; Betty Griffith, Grand Junction 515-738-5767; Virginia Carlson, Paton 515-386-2401; Liz Guess, Churdan 515-389-3160; Dot Lawton, Cooper 515-386-4585; or Mary Weaver, Rippey 515-360-8046.

Ces Brunow, president of the Society, will conduct the business meeting following the program. Agenda items will include events during the Bell Tower Festival. Roger Aegerter, executive director of the Society, will be seeking volunteers, as the festival’s art show will be at the museum, and that requires additional open hours.

Membership for the Greene County Historical Society is $20 for a family and $15 for an individual. The Society qualifies as a 501c3 organization under IRS guidelines.

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