The Grand on Main to unveil historic 105-year-old sign
The original Grand Theatre sign will be revealed to the public after being in the dark for 105 years. According to Vice President of Marketing Joe Nester, the sign was discovered by workmen underneath the floor during renovations of the building in 2017. It is predicted that the sign was placed there in 1914 when the Grand Theatre closed its doors after operating from 1909 to 1914.
Project developer Greg Middleton said it was an exciting find. “The old sign became our inspiration for naming the new restaurant and boutique bowling venue, The Grand on Main,” he said. “It provides a new window into the past where entertainment and culture were a part of Columbia’s Main Street.”
Nester said the sign itself is made from metal, but the letters were made from wood. “They had been painted probably 10 or 12 times, they saw so many different colors,” he said. Some of the letters were discovered above-ground and well-preserved, while others were found in the dirt. “The stuff that was actually in the dirt was the worst of it,” added Nester.
The sign’s restoration was conducted by Carolina Conservation, with the goal of preserving as much of the original character as possible. Nester said they are looking forward to putting it on display inside the restaurant. “We’re excited to bring this historical example of Main Street’s entertainment past, back to life,” he said. “They rewired all of the sockets so it’s actually going to be a lit sign.”
The Grand is located at 1621 Main Street. The anniversary celebration and sign unveiling will be held Thursday, Jan. 17 at 6:30 p.m.