Wednesday May 04 2011
Focusing on Colfax's historical Main Street
By: Nancy Hagman, Special to the Colfax Record
Hunting for Heavy Metal
The quest for heavy metal now finds us on historical Colfax’s Main Street. I’ll stop for a second to remind you the goal of the quest. How many plaques per capita are there in this town? I think we may have a record here somewhere. The hunt is now localized, saving on the gas bill. The next batch of plaques are all on Main. I’ll start next door to where I found the Bianchini plaque. The Colfax Theatre has one that states Wendell Jacob restored the building in 1989. He told me he has loved movie theaters since he was a teen. He was a projectionist at the Varsity in Davis, where he still lives and where I recently caught up with him by phone. Jacob went on to make a career in electronics. He said he will always be fascinated by anything having to do with movies. That’s why he created the museum of projection machines that is in the lobby. The 72-year-old structure was built by Oswald Marson. It was originally very plain in design and décor. Yet, during the good old days, people were known to come from as far as Sacramento to have dinner and a movie in Colfax. Following its high-flying heyday, there was a somewhat checkered past, says former Colfax Mayor Sharon Gierras, the current bookkeeper for the business. “I heard that every time it ran out of money, it showed an X-rated movie, then it had money again,” Gierras said. Jacob purchased the facility from Rita Marson in 1986. He refurbished it completely in the next few years. The project included new seats and a state-of-the art surround sound speaker system. To do this, Jacob brought in the professionals. Architect John Hyde helped create a small jewel. The result was to turn the 240-seat auditorium into a tribute to Art Deco – the style true to the time when the building was first constructed in 1939. It was visited by the likes of Mickey Rooney and, for me, always a treat to attend events and movies. Hopefully, we will see it back in action soon.