Pixy Theatre

111 S. Walnut Street,
Edinburgh, IN 46124

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Originally the Pixy Theatre, after closing as a movie house, it operated for some time as a live theater venue called the ACT 1 Theatre, which has apparently since closed. Any further information on the Pixy would be appreciated.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 13, 2006 at 11:27 am

The theater was destroyed by fire in July 1944, and presumably rebuilt. This excerpt is from the July 2004 newsletter of www.indianamilitary.org:

A “THANK YOU” Note — Last week a fire completely destroyed the Masonic Temple and the Pixy Theater at Edinburg. Atterbury firemen aided the town in fighting the blaze, and the following letter of appreciation has been received by Col. Modisette, post commander, from the clerk of the town of Edinburg, Mr. Harvey Allison: “On behalf of the town officials, members of the fire department, and the people of this community, we express our thanks for the fine co-operation of the Post Fire Department during the disastrous fire here Thursday. The post firemen rendered a valuable service to the community, and the fire may have been even more disastrous had it not been for the efficient help. Again we thank you for your co-operation, and express the best of good wishes for a continued friendly relationship between the post and this community.”

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 6, 2007 at 6:03 pm

The Pixy was operated by Sconce Theaters in the early sixties. Owners were JB and EM Sconce. Other theaters in the chain at that time were the Old Trail and Pixy in Indianapolis and the Browny in Brownsburg.

mharding
mharding on December 24, 2008 at 4:50 pm

From Mike Harding:

I bought the former Masonic Lodge #100 / Pixy Theater in July of 2008. I live in San Diego, but also own a portion of the family farm (from the 1870’s) on the Flat Rock River, known as the Owens-Forrest Riparian Preserve. I also have a home just south of Edinburgh, where my mother, Particia (Rambo) Harding grew up.

The downstairs portion of the building will continue to be known as the Pixy and will be begin hosting live music and theater concurrent with the Edinburgh Fall Festival in 2009. The theater still contains two original 1927 Peerless carbon arc lamp projectors, seating for 150 and two stages. Original Disney art on the walls of the lobby was recently uncovered and appears to be in original condition and capable of restoration and preservation.

The upper portion of the building will be known as the Owens-Forrest Environmental Institute named in honor of my family (Owens) and my late wife (Carol Forrest). The second and third floors are comprised of a lecture hall, full industrial kitchen, parlors, dressing rooms, men’s and ladies lavatories, ladies lounge and a large “chapel” suitable for weddings and receptions. The chapel’s main feature is its 1927 Aeolian Organ, one of the largest of residential organs ever built and orginally moved from the Levi Mansion in Indianapolis.

The OFEI will be open for business in July 2009 and will initially host a series of environmental restoration courses, workshops and symposia. I am an environmental scientist (Purdue graduate) that does land restoration work worldwide. My faculty for these workshops will be professional associates of mine who are experts in various aspects of environmental protection, such as air and water quality, erosion and sediment control, wildlife habitat establishment and other disciplines.

The lecture hall and other meeting rooms will be made available to community groups and are suitable for all manner of activities, including weddings, etc.

For more information about my activities and the Lodge/Pixy you can visit www.greatcircleint.com, www.flightofdiscovery.com or contact me at

Mike Harding

niwradx
niwradx on April 8, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Apparently the building wasn’t completely destroyed in the fire of 1944. Comparing pictures provided by Lost Memory (“Postcard View” from 1911 and “Blue River Theater” from sometime after 1972) clearly shows the same exterior, but with different roof. I grew up in Edinburgh and remember this theater very well. During the time I remember (about 1955 thru 1967) the box office was situated on the right side of the entrance, but at 90degrees to the sidewalk so that it was on your right just before entering the building. The modification to the left front window had not been done – this window was used to post upcoming attractions. I coudn’t say for sure about the roof line – don’t recall ever paying attention to it as a kid. Sorry, Lost Memory, but your link to photo of the Main Event Theater is a dead end.
Mr. Harding, the artwork on the walls as I remember it was Looney Toons, not Disney. If there were any Disney characters on the walls at that time I don’t remember them, but I remember certainly Bugs Bunny, Tweety and Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck & Elmer Fudd. I believe there was at least one picture of Tom & Jerry as well.

LORDSCAPES
LORDSCAPES on April 11, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I recall the Pixy well, as I attended matinees there as a child in the 1960’s and early 70’s. Saturday afternoons cost a dollar to get in and included two movies, with a 15-20 minute cartoon-filled intermission in between. It was owned by Bice Sconce, who owned several other theaters as well. Mr. Sconce lived in a huge house on the hill near the old high school, next to an equally large house owned by Esqueline Bruce. As I recall, original Disney artwork on the walls which was recently uncovered was painted there by David Barrett of Edinburgh sometime in the early 1960’s. I often credit the Pixy as being the place where Cherry Coke got its start—-ipon request, “Hot Dog” Barrett would put a squirt of cherry juice in your coke for you.

LORDSCAPES
LORDSCAPES on April 11, 2009 at 9:23 pm

I remember when the theater became a venue for live plays and performances, known as the Act One Theater. This was, I believe in the mid to late 1970’s. Nellie DeArmand, a first grade teacher at East Side Elementary School in Edinburgh, organized the entire thing along with an “acting troup” of other local residents.

mharding
mharding on April 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm

From Mike Harding:

Thanks for your comments and memories. To update you all, this site does not let me post photos, but we’ll have a website up pretty soon, aka www.TheEdinburghPixy.org I’ll keep posting progress photos but to date here’s where we are:

New replacement windows in the third floor Lodge area custom built by Bee Windows to match the originals;

Third floor Lodge area 75% complete with all walls, ceilings, etc. stripped, primed and painted.

All woodwork in the Lodge area (i.e., baseboards, windoew frames, six-panel oak dors, etc) stripped of paint and natural wood preserved.

All carpet, vinyl and adhesive removed from southern yellow pine floors (whew!) and floors sanded and ready to receive stain and poly coat.

Yep, the cartoon figures on the North wall of the lobby as you walk in are mostly Looney Tunes, although there’s a Pluto as well. There’s a Peter and the Wolf on the South wall, somewhat faded over the years and Mickey Mouse is still in the closet. I’m intrigued by the suggestion that there are other Looney figures as well… they must be on the south wall which is still covered by paneling.

Our intention is to preserve these figures as much as possible.

The rest of the theater is pretty much the way it has been for the last 40 years. There is a lot of electrical work to be done so that the stage and house lights can be operated from one panel.

Unlike the Artcraft in Franklin and the Crump in Columbus, we are not getting grants nor is our work being accomplished by volunteers; part of the responsibility of ownership (I feel) is to involve the community and to that end, I’m employing locals who are out of work and paying them to do the work myself.

Again, thanks for your interest. Stop by anytime… someone is generally there between 8 and 3 on weekdays. Keep the comments coming.

Mike

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 23, 2009 at 6:25 pm

“Mickey Mouse is still in the closet” is phrase I never expected to read, even on the Internet.

Boxoffice Magazine carried conflicting information about the Pixy Theatre fire, and in the same article, at that. The headline in the July 29, 1944, issue read “Pixy Destroyed By Fire; Damage at $7,000,” but the first line of the article said “Fire completely ruined the Masonic Building, including the Pixy Theatre, on a recent early morning, causing damage estimated as high as $75,000.”

The item also said “The booth fell from its supports into the first floor area,” which sounds pretty dire. Photos show that the building obviously survived, though the theater was apparently gutted. The reopening of the Pixy was announced in the April 21, 1945, issue of Boxoffice, which didn’t give the exact date, saying only “last week.”

mharding
mharding on August 25, 2009 at 12:45 pm

From Mike Harding:

Just an update on renovation progress at The Edinburgh Pixy. We’ve incorporated a non-profit 501© corporation called “The Owens-Forrest Environmental Institute” as the business entity for the property, of which “The Edinburgh Pixy” is a for-profit Indiana Corporation.

To date the following has been accomplished (from the top down): Roof repaired and sealed; new collectors and downspouts; all third and second floor rooms plastered, primed and painted; new electrical conduits and lighting installed; all third floor carpet, vinyl and tiles removed and southern yellow pine floors sanded, stained and polyurethaned; eighteen custom-reproduction windows and sills installed on third and second floors and in stairwells by Bee Windows of Indpls (fabulous job); second floor bathroom expanded to include seven(7) new stalls + urinals; new baseboard electric heat on second floor (none before); all doors and woodwork throughout building stripped down to their original cherry, oak and curly maple finish; new drapes purchased for third floor Lecture and Great Hall; all third floor benches stripped and currently being reupholstered by Bayles (Seymour); new stage lights in Pixy Theater (by TRM Electrical of Edinburgh); Aeolian organ in Great Hall renovated by John Goulding of Indiana State Historical Organ Society (incredible sound!).

I’ll be in town from Sept 6th through Oct 3rd with a few friends finishing up some detail work. All the lights, cabinets, drapes and fixtures have been delivered to finish the lobby, the third floor kitchen and all the bathrooms. The Endinburgh Little Prince and Princess Pageant will be held (in conjunction with the Fall Festival) at The Edinburgh Pixy on Saturday Sept 19th around 12:30pm, so come on by after you have the chicken dinner at the Lions Club across the street.

We Proceed Onward…

Mike

mharding
mharding on October 1, 2009 at 8:48 pm

From Mike:

THe Pixy made it through the Edinburgh Fall Festival with honor. We opened it up on Friday night so people could see the progress and about 200 folks wandered through. We showed cartoons on the theater screen for the kids but I imagine there were as many adults sitting around, too.

We hosted the Little Prince and Princess Pageant on-stage. Every seat was filled and we hurried to remove boxes from the balcony to make more room. I went into my office on the house-right side of the balcony to find a dozen people there as well. What a hoot.

Still working hard to make this thing happen by the Festival of Lights on December 12-13th. We’re planning some unique and classy music for the weekend. Hopefully the website will be up by the end of the month so everyone can check out the schedule of events.

Major appreciation to the Pixy crew, especially Judy Chandler.

We proceed onward…

Mike

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