Mike Brodwater/SR File Photo
Julie Andrews in “Victor/Victoria” was the last film star to dance across the screen at Coeur d’Alene’s Wilma Theatre before the building was shuttered for good. After years of vacancy and decay, the grand old dame was finally taken to the ground after the heavy snow of winter 1997 caused the roof to collapse. Sandpoint’s Panida Theater was destined toward a similar fate in 1985 when huge chunks of ceiling came crashing down inside, instantly short-listing it for the wrecking ball. At the time, it was so rundown and rickety that it was being used merely as storage for local drama troupe the Unicorn Theater Co. who held their actual performances in less unsafe venues. Refusing to stand by and watch the wonderfully unique old venue become rubble, community members rallied together, selling hand painted lobby tiles and personalized sidewalk bricks to supporters including the mayor and the governor. In less than 90 days, the required $40,000 dollars was raised toward the purchase price of $200,000. The now community-owned Panida was primped, polished and given new life solely due to the hard work of volunteers and business owners who donated anything and everything needed to restore it to its former grandeur/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More here
Question: Why does Sandpoint hang onto its past when Coeur d’Alene is so quick to tear down old buildings to make room for new ones?