From An Era Gone By Story and photo by Annette Barr
ince the 1950s the marquee above the Roxy Cinemas has been advertising blockbusters from “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” to the most recent Marvel Comic-based film, “Avengers: Endgame.” Although the downtown Ottawa theater has been around for quite some time, Kyle Mitchell, director of theater operations with parent company WK Cinemas, said that when he painted over a yellow epoxy coating the metal sign a couple of years ago he estimated the current marquee was installed sometime during the 1950s. He said the epoxy was popular with signs during that era. Prior to this he said the marStarved Rock Country
quee used to jut out over the sidewalk similar to art deco marquees built in the early 1930s. “I always loved these older signs. I was really disappointed a couple of years ago when the Sands Motel (in Ottawa) took down their sign,” Mitchell said of the former neon sign featuring an hour glass. “It’s from an era gone by, and it’s sad to see it all fade.” Currently the only changes to the marquee being discussed are changing to LED bulbs. “It does take regular maintenance. Those bulbs sure do go out quick,” Mitchell said. As for the sign, “we love S R it. The owner, Mark, he really loves it.” C
| Signs Of T he Times | SIGNS OF THE TIMES features eye-catching and historic signs sprinkled throughout Starved Rock Country. But what’s the story behind these striking signs? What makes them unique? This feature shares the historical significance of these signs and how they’ve become deeply rooted in our communities.
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