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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Quincy church preparing to buy Orpheum Theater

  • The Orpheum Theater, located at Fifth Street and Broadway in downtown Hannibal, is about to be sold. The Crossing, an independent, non-denominational church based in Quincy, Ill., will be its new owner. According to a source with knowledge of the pending sale, the closing is scheduled to take place Monday, Oct. 17.


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  • The Orpheum Theater, located at Fifth Street and Broadway in downtown Hannibal, is about to be sold. The Crossing, an independent, non-denominational church based in Quincy, Ill., will be its new owner. According to a source with knowledge of the pending sale, the closing is scheduled to take place Monday, Oct. 17.
    The Crossing Church started a satellite church in Hannibal on May 1 of this year. The new congregation, that has been meeting at the Hannibal YMCA since its inception, almost immediately outgrew its temporary home. After drawing almost 400 people for its inaugural service, Hannibal Crossing has been regularly attracting around 350 people. Reportedly, church leadership has been considering adding another service to help ease the space crunch.
    The Orpheum would provide the new church room to grow. Senior Pastor Jerry Harris told the Quincy congregation last Sunday’s that the Orpheum has a seating capacity of approximately 960.
    Particulars regarding the sale price are not know. Harris announced last week that 13 families have pledged money toward the purchase. Harris also advised the Quincy congregation and the Crossing’s other satellite campuses that a “miracle offering” will be taken on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22 and 23, in behalf of the Hannibal site to help cover the cost of work that needs to be done at the Orpheum in advance of the congregation taking occupancy.
    Previous owners
    The Orpheum is being sold by Larry Owens, who oversaw the extensive renovation of Clemens Field.
    After parting ways with the Hannibal Baseball Group, Owens retained ownership of the Orpheum. He hoped it would a major component of a downtown Hannibal development project that would have included properties along Broadway as far west as the 600 block. However, when the Main Street USA project failed to get off the ground, Owens’ interest in the property faded.
    Owens and two other members of the Hannibal Baseball Group - Bob Hemond and Dave Trogan - purchased the Orpheum Theatre in 2008 from John North and Andrew Burgeen. Hemond and Trogan relinquished their ownership shares in the theater in early 2010.
    Burgeen and North owned the theater for four years, purchasing it from Hannibal-LaGrange College in November 2004.
    HLG had owned the facility since April 29, 2002. The college initially leased the structure in 1989 from the Rev. Wallace Smashey after a devastating fire on campus claimed HLG’s administration building, which also housed the college’s theater. With the opening on campus in May 2003 of the Roland Fine Arts Center, which includes Parker Theatre, the college’s need for the Orpheum vanished.
    The Orpheum officially opened as a vaudeville theater on Jan. 24, 1922. The 1,300-seat theater, which saw the Marx Brothers, Ed Wynn, Louie Armstrong and Count Basie perform there, was initially owned by J.B. Price Theatres, Inc. Renamed The Tom Sawyer after being purchased by the Frisina Company in the 1940s, the Orpheum closed as a movie theater in 1966.
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