As a lifelong Warren County resident, I’m pretty familiar with most of the popular spots around town. But every place has its secrets that few people get to see. I’m always reminded of that anytime a tour group visits the Southern Standard, as one did this Wednesday. When you work at a place for a long time, you become numb to the things that are interesting to others. It’s always a little surprising to me how excited people get when they have the opportunity to see our press, especially when it’s in action. I understand how those people must feel as I have a list of places I’ve always been curious about.
In the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to see a few of those places. I feel like I’m not alone in my curiosity about locations I like to call Warren County behind the scenes. I’ve even gone as far as suggesting we start a series in the Standard profiling these places, but this column will have to suffice for now.
One object of my curiosity has always been behind the pins at the bowling alley. A few years ago when my friend Betty Perry owned our local lanes, she took me back there and it’s just as magical as I imagined.
Another room I’ve always wondered about is the projection booth at Three Star Cinema. Thanks to my friendship with Bob, Wanda, Julie and Hamilton, I got to check that one off my list this year. One of the great things Three Star Cinema offers that some people may not know about is the option to rent out a theater for you and your friends to watch anything you’d like. The rentals start at $119. One night my wife and some of her friends rented out a theater at the same time two other parties rented screens. It was a particularly busy night and, seeing my opportunity, I volunteered to help. Julie took me up to the projection booth and I think she was a little tickled at how excited I was to go up there. What I learned is all five screens are accessible from a narrow hall that runs the length of the theater. The biggest object of joy I discovered there was an original sample chair from the Cowan Oldham Theatre. Any Warren countian of a certain age will remember the big, cushy, red rocking chairs the theater had and I got to sit in one for the first time in decades.
This Wednesday, I satisfied my curiosity about a couple more places while on the job for the Southern Standard. In the never-ending quest to do something different with graduation pictures, I was given the OK from Park Theater manager Joe Harvey to use the top of the Park marquee. It’s a spot a lot of people don’t even know is accessible, but it is, and it’s cool. Making my day even better, thanks to the cooperation of Anna Sands and Nate Baker at Topz, I was able to gain access to their upstairs area to gain a better angle for my picture. As familiar as many of us are with downtown businesses, the upstairs areas remain a mystery for most of us, and they are cool spaces full of promise.
I love our little town and, no matter how familiar I think I am with it, there’s always a few more hidden treasures to discover. I enjoy the hunt.
Standard Managing Editor Seth Wright can be reached at (931) 473-2191