This Week at Rotary
We Meet at Noon
January 13, 2022
(Also Via Zoom)
Plated Meal Served
(Zoom Meeting Opens at 11:45)
Mary Tennis
The Depot Executive Director
The Depot - A Future of Possibility.”
The St. Louis County Depot is much more than a beautiful building. It is a center for story. A pillar of artistic expression. A walk back in time. A glimpse of the future. Join Mary Tennis as she talks about the visioning process the Depot conducted, leading to shifts in the operation of the historic and iconic building, which include a focus on more events; Bienvenue CoffeeFest, The Great Hall Marketplace, Alexander Miles STEAM Festival, Fall/Winter Markets, Depot TED Talks and the Depot 130th Birthday celebration year.
Highlights from Last Week’s Meeting
by Rob Hofmann
With no love lost to 2021, Rotarians gathered for our first meeting of 2022. President Chana Stocke rang the Rotary Bell and we proudly stood to sing the National Anthem, accompanied once more by Past President John Baumgarten, and a recitation of the Four-Way Test. For the Reflection, Dave Fulda provided a great foretaste to our day’s program by sharing a letter from a young lad named Dicky Webber who had written about his “really keen” adventures watching a Roy Rogers film titled Under the Western Skies at the “old” West Theater. He was reminded, just as movies can make a difference in our lives, so too Rotary! The shortlist where Rotarians make a difference might contain our work on behalf of Life House, Salvation Army, Kids Closet, Bethany Crisis Shelter, and many, many more charitable organizations. As Dave Fulda also reminded us: “Let’s not become tired of doing the good works that make a lasting change. Good job, Rotarians!”
Poster of the 1938 Roy Rogers’ film
Picture of West Theatre in that age
A few Rotarians made self-reports to start the new year. Past Assistant Governor Phil Strom donated $55.00 for fifty-five glorious years of marriage to his wife, and Rotary regular guest, Babs Strom. Congratulations!!  Club #25’s favorite Dental Implant & Reconstructive Doc, Doug Erickson kicked the can and announced that he is “officially retired” - welcome to your next life chapter, Doc! Next up, Past Present John Baumgarten, President-Elect Barb Perrella, and Allen Anway introduced three of this month’s Junior Rotarians with the promise of adding a few more next week. We will see all the January Junior Rotarians in next week’s Gimlet.
Chair of the Day Jack Seiler introduced us to our program speaker Bob Boone. Jack Seiler said, “Bob Boone may be best described as a serial entrepreneur as his list of start-ups and business accomplishments in years past are long and impressive.” It was noted that Rotarians may already know Bob Boone as the owner and publisher of The Reader, a weekly arts and cultural newspaper that reaches the entire northeastern part of the state. The Reader has become a rarity in this age of digital media, something Mr. Boone is very proud of. Mr. Boone expressed his passion for arts and culture in the Northland in a meaningful way by offering up a FREE full-page/four-color advertisement to any nonprofit who wishes to promote itself!
So, it should be no surprise for those who know Mr. Boone that when he was presented the unique opportunity to renovate the “old” West Theatre from the dereliction of decades of disuse, he charged forward. And charge he did! Taking on debt that would make most a bit squeamish, if not outright weak in the knees, he worked as a general contractor with many of the original specialty contractors who build the original West Theatre in the 1930s. There were no blueprint drawings from the original construction, only a few dated photographs. Yet, undaunted, Mr. Boone examined the “look and layout” of theatres of a similar vintage and was able to provide a vision for what the space should ultimately look like – a 1930s Art-Deco Theatre with all the appointments.  Mr. Boone scoured the country finding architectural accents and vintage equipment that would fit his vision. One piece of pride was an antique popcorn machine that was featured on the CBS Mornings program.
The renewed West Theatre opened in 2019, but COVID hit and only recently has the West Theatre begun to host LIVE concerts and feature films. Of course, it was not Bob Boone alone who made this dream a reality. Mr. Boone credited friends and volunteers who were able to assist in several ways that allowed him to keep costs down. A question might be asked whether Bob Boone has had his “fill” of renovating historic theatres…. The answer is: ABSOLUTELY NOT! Next up: The Alhambra Theater which just so happens to be conveniently next door to The West Theatre!
Bob Boone
The exterior before renovations
The West Theatre after the $1.6 million restoration
Inside the restored West Theatre.
The Bar and Concession Stand
(L to R) Program Speaker Bob Boone with Chair of the Day Jack Seiler