Town Theatre Renovations
Town Theatre began its storied life in 1911 when it was remodeled from
the Shute Bank and opened as The Grand theatre, a 150 seat theatre
boasting the first motion pictures in the area. In 1916, the
owner, Orange Phelps, remodeled the building, adding 350 new seats and
renaming it the Liberty. In 1925, Mr. Phelps undertook a major
remodel, renovating the theatre in the then-popular Italianate style
and christening it the Venetian. The theatre boasted an elegant
entrance with a beautiful chandelier in the vestibule and murals
resembling the view from an Italian villa in the auditorium. Mr. Phelps
brought “talkies” to Hillsboro in the theatre in 1929.
Venetian operated successfully until 1956, when a fire burned through
the auditorium, destroying it but leaving the vestibule intact.
Mr. Phelps took the opportunity to modernize it, adding the recessed
entryway, a mezzanine, and the marquee seen in the photo at
right. Once again, the theatre was renamed, becoming the Town
the theatre has undergone another complete transformation. The
theatre, vacant and deteriorating since 1996 when the City of Hillsboro
purchased it, was sold (along with the adjoining “Music Village”
Building) to Scheller Properties. Renovation began in August,
2007, with plans to open in June, 2008.
theatre has returned to its glory days It has been re-named the
Venetian and decorated in a modern yet classic European style. The
building now opens into the adjacent space next door and a bistro and
wine and coffee bar have been opened in that space and the second floor
above. The restaurant offers European foods, a menu devised by
managing parter Saxony Peterson, a wine and cheese bar and a pair of
roll-up glass walls facing Main Street to create an open-air dining
experience. In addition, the building features a wrought-iron
balcony extending about 4 feet over the Main Street sidewalk. The
theatre itself has been extensively remodeled and is a gracious,
comfortable space in which to appreciate the entertainment
Venetian playbill will include at least three live shows each year and
screenings of major sporting events as well as second-run movies.
can keep track of upcoming offerings by consulting an electronic reader
board which also displays the time and current temperature. For
entertainment schedules and menu choices, visit the venue's website, www.venetiantheatre.com.