Andrew Liles’ and John Stubbs’ research on the Fiske Theatre propels the theatre onto the National Register of Historic Places, the first structure for Oak Grove.
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove, La. were informed Thursday afternoon by the United States Parks Service that the Fiske Theatre has been approved and is now officially listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
“It is my honor not only the be the United States Representative but also a native of West Carroll to see the theatre I attended as a child be restored to such a stature that it has been over the last few years to be now listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.” Congressman Vance McAllister said. “I commend Adam Holland for his leadership and all other community leaders that have contributed not only to restoring it to such prestige to be recognized, but also to what it has given back to a community that works so hard to maintain Louisiana’s core values that I am proud to call my hometown and birthplace.”
Congressman McAllister and Senator David Vitter both wrote letters of support to the National Parks Service on the theatre’s behalf supporting its listing on the National Registry.
“Words cannot express how big of an honor this is not just for the theatre, but for the Town of Oak Grove, our citizens and all of West Carroll Parish.” Adam Holland, W.C. Chamber Director of Special Events, and President of Holland Entertainment said. “This listing brings with it much distinction and prestige for the theatre and the town, as well as, the possibility for grants to preserve the building for our posterity.”
The Fiske is the first building in the City of Oak Grove to be listed on the National Registry. There are other buildings in town that may qualify for listing including the Legion Hut, OGHS Old Gym, and both the First Baptist and United Methodist Church to name a few.
“We are proud of Adam for all he has put into bringing the theatre back to her prime and this listing is just one more testament to the work he has done and the support that we as a chamber have received from countless people to make restoring the theatre possible.” W.C. Chamber President John Elliott said. “By having the theatre now officially listed on the National Registry we as a Chamber and the City can capitalize on this distinction and the theatre can become even more of an economic engine for our town than she already is by drawing tourist who travel the country side visiting historic places.”
The process of having the theatre listed on the National Registry began when the Chamber received the Tulane School of Architecture’s Dean’s Fund for Excellence grant in April of 2013 which funded a group of students and professors to travel to Oak Grove and study the architecture and cultural impact the theatre has had on Northeast Louisiana. The students published a book and used that information throughout the application process. Adam Holland, Doug and Rita Ainsworth along with Donald B. Fiske Jr. then represented the theatre at the November hearing of the Louisiana Historic Registry Commission where they voted unanimously to forward the nomination on the NPS.
“I’m very proud of the Fiske Theatre and the entire Oak Grove community for receiving this recognition. It’s a great tribute to Mr. Donald Fiske and all of the local leaders who have worked so hard to restore, update, and maintain such an iconic structure, and I’m pleased that it will be enjoyed for generations to come,” Senator Vitter said.
The current Fiske Theatre was built in 1950 featuring the Ultra-Moderne Art Deco style that was prevalent in movie theater construction of the time. It was designed by the late B.W. Stevens who also designed the Joy Theatre on Canal Street in New Orleans which is an almost replica of the Fiske. In 1951 it was named “The Most Modern and Well Equipped Theatre” in the United States that was constructed in 1950 by the Motion Picture Exhibitors Catalog.
The Fiske Theatre was donated to the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce in 1988 by its founder Donald B. Fiske and is currently operated by Holland Entertainment LLC. The Fiske is open each Thursday-Sunday showing a different first-run film each week