Another Opening, Another Show

Can the historic Florida Theatre raise the curtain on a new downtown?
Theatre Plaza hopes to be a magnet once again for entertainment in downtown Vero Beach.

 It’s not often that the movies provide the motivation for political change in an area, but that is what happened in Vero Beach in early 1925. On Oct. 20, 1924, the Vero Theatre had opened in spite of a threatened hurricane. The showing of the movie Hunchback of Notre Dame was preceded by a gala to show off the beautiful new theatre, a two-story masonry building in the Mediterranean-revival style that was popular in Florida in the 1920s. There were 850 seats, including two boxes on either side of the 53×20-foot stage and a full-size orchestra pit. The auditorium was cooled by two variable speed exhaust fans that drew in fresh air from the roof and distributed it through grills in the ceiling.

A pipe organ costing $10,400 (a considerable sum in those days for a town of 1,500 people) was the idea of William Atkins, a Vero businessman and manager of the Vero Theatre Corporation, who was also an excellent organist.

Read the entire article in the January 2006 issue