PRINCESS THEATRE - Raising the Curtain: June 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Pictures speak a thousand words, and this post is a pure photo exposé on the current progress of the Princess restoration.  So much has happened since my last tour of the project and I was so surprised, pleased, and down right proud!

That's exactly how Rhonda Whiting (Sister's of the Silver Sage) and "Marshal" Andy Smalls felt when they visited the complex Monday.  The two local celebrities came to the Channel 15 studio to record some promos for the Princess and add their support for the project.  They both plan on performing soon on the Princess stage!

Currently, the projected opening is early fall, but I can't give you a firm date as yet.  You know how construction/restoration projects go, so just remain calm and I'll let you know the date/s and times of the two-day grand opening "party" that's planned!

Now, on to the photos!
Frank Sparkman (beard) and project supervisor Bill Milburn go over changes to the blueprints in the lobby of the Princess. 
There are miles of electrical, sound, and video wiring in hundreds of runs of conduit going into the project.
The new modern electrical room fits neatly around the walls of the prop/storage room, which is inside the new addition to the east rear wall of the Princess.
Performers will be able to park just outside the rear of the theater and bring their equipment directly to the stage on the right (photo above).  The electrical room is on the right of this photo, and the "dressing rooms" are straight down the hall on the left. 

Notice how thick the original Princess outside wall is!
The new door on the left is cut from the original Princess lobby and into the old Margrave drugstore area, where a new concession counter will be cut through the right wall (see next photo down) and into the Tappan building area.
Within the steel framed area above will be the new concession counter.  The framed in area shown in the photo above will house the elevator to the balcony.
This photo shows the inside of the "Tappan" building.  The working area of the concession counter will be framed in on the left wall.  Further back, in the dark, is the wall that separates the "dressing room" areas from this section of the complex.

These vertical shots were placed here, basically for convenience...they fit nicely!  The one on the left is of the original upstairs women's restroom, and the right one is looking through the new doorway from the "Margrave" building into the current lobby.  The new lobby area will cover both the original lobby, where there will be another concessions area, and the expanded lobby area within the Margrave building.  (See the floor plan for reference HERE!)
Up in the balcony I found the projection booth and two new enclosures on each side.  The projection booth will be used as it was intended, while the two other enclosures will provide housing for storage and sound equipment.
The balcony flooring is presently covered while wiring, AC/HVAC, lighting, and ceiling work is being done.  You can also see the strong new roofing support at the top of the photo.
The original upstairs mezzanine, outside the restrooms, will be getting a new face-lift as well.  Note the old mirror hanging over the will soon reflect a new modern theater!
This photo shows the inside of the women's "dressing room".  Use your imagination and see the multiple lighted mirrors hanging along the wall, with actors busily applying makeup and reciting lines!
Actors will leave the "dressing rooms" on the right and travel the short distance to the stage entrance on the left.  Frank Sparkman stands in the alley behind the Princess.
The new addition with a roll-up door to the alley opens into the prop/storage area.  This is roll-up door is where performers will roll their equipment to the stage.
Many long hot hours have been spent on this project by local workers doing manual labor necessary to make the complex work properly.  The steel framed areas will be new doorways into the theater area.  This particular work is being done just behind the "dressing rooms" in the "Margrave" building area.
This photo shows back stage at the Princess and the basement opening.
This shot is from the stage toward the balcony.  It won't be long before all this scaffolding will be torn down and the ceiling, lighting, and painting will all be done.  Then comes the flooring and exciting is that!
It won't be long now until we will step up to the ticket booth (left) and purchase a ticket for the best entertainment around!

Outside, the new LED lights of the Princess' marquee will beckon us into her seats and "the dream" will be complete!

If there is anything, or particular place, you would like to see presented here, let me know by leaving a comment.

Hope to see all of you soon at the Princess!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Again this past Saturday, the 2nd Saturday of the month, "Cruisin' In Harriman" celebrated on Roane Street with classic cars, games, food, music, and dancing, as always.  However, this particular Saturday was special.  The colleagues of long time Harriman supporter, event worker, and publisher/editor of the "Roane Reader" Sandra Lemons Stout, remembered their beloved friend in a very special way.

Sandra stood with them again, as she has for years, advertising her popcorn and t-shirt sales.  

The UPS Store in Midtown made a life size blowup of a photo I took of her one year ago.  It made a difference in the mood of the event, without which the occasion would have much more somber and lonely.  
Even husband Johnny Stout seemed moved by the photo and sat near it with a bit of a smile on his face.  He knows what Harriman, the Princess, and the many events she supported meant to her, and, in a way, she was there.

I have it on good authority that Sandra will make another appearance at the Princess grand opening...coming this fall!  She always wanted to be there, and she will!

Again we wish to thank Sandra (and her entire family) for all she did for her community over the years, and mostly for just being our friend.

Also on hand, as the winner does every June, was "Miss Polk Salad"!  This year's winner Taylor Lindsay put smiles on everyone's face as she signed autographs, played games, and danced to the music.  David Webb, the president of the Tennessee "Polk Salad" Association, was also on hand to present this year's winner.

The Cruisin' event was hosted and emceed by Tommy Hardin, who kept the crowd singing and dancing in the streets.  Tommy always keeps events hopping and moving forward, and we were proud to have him on hand.

There are lots of events in Harriman, and in Roane County, so come on out and join us!  There's nothing more American than a good ol' fashioned street event in small town USA!

Friday, June 10, 2011


The Princess Restoration Project has been blessed again, Mr. Matt Waters has been hired by Roane State to manage Roane State and the City of Harriman’s Channel 15 TV station! Matt is currently working through the transition with Bill Radice at the station.
Mr. Radice plans to resume his retirement, and we certainly owe him a great debt of gratitude for his time and effort over the past year. Without Bill, the station would just now be getting underway. However, Bill’s expertise has given us a state-of-the-art station that has been broadcasting since December 3, 2010.
Matt, who will also be teaching at Roane State, was hired as the Channel 15 Manager/Mass Communications Lecturer just this past week. He brings loads of education and experience to the position, and will bring fresh new ideas to the station’s purpose for and position in the community.
He asks for the community’s input for the direction of the station. Send your questions about, and comments/suggestions for Channel 15 directly to Matt at or call 354-3000 ext. 4429.
Matt started his communications career in newspaper, then moved into radio production and ultimately TV production. He graduated from UT in 1999 (bachelor's degree in broadcasting) and 2000 (master's degree in communication).
Matt currently owns 865 Video Productions, which specializes in video transfers.
He is the executive board secretary for AnimalWorks, a low-cost spay/neuter organization based in Alcoa.
Matt and his wife Katie Jones Waters, live in Knoxville with their daughter Stella (age 2) and Trixie Lulu, the loving family dog!

Mr. Waters’ experience also comes from these past involvements:
1998-2000 - studio production and master control at WBXX-TV, now called CW20 - Knoxville
2000-2001 - promotion producer at WWAY News Channel 3 - Wilmington, NC
2001-2004 - promotion producer and webmaster at WVLT Volunteer TV - Knoxville
2004-2008 - production and promotion manager at WMAK-TV - Knoxville
2008-2011 - commercial producer at Comcast Spotlight - Knoxville

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I get so tired of hearing rumors about the Princess, rumors started by the opposition and those weak in faith!  Rumors like...."Pssst, the Princess is running out of money...yeah, there's no hammering going on in there!"

Well, where is all this dust on Roane Street coming from?  Is it just people that have brought in their own equipment and are tearing out the old Tappan and Margrave Drug building flooring with their own money and time?  I think not!

The restoration project is still going on and moving toward a grand opening soon.  I know there are lots of folks that will hate to hear that, but I'm loving telling them the truth!  The dream ain't going away!

The old flooring was being ripped up this week and dumped in a large dumpster sitting on Roane Street.  This demolition work paves the way for the restoration of the two old buildings to the right of the Princess.  If you remember from the drawing I posted HERE previously, this expansion will extend the lobby for the "Trail Head", new concession area, and house the area for the new elevator and restrooms, the "green rooms", dressing rooms, and the prop storage/construction area.

And, it case you haven't noticed, the canopy has been prepped to support the new LED-equipped marquee coming soon. 

Yes, things are moving right along...don't's going to happen!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I was saddened today when I learned that Sandra Lemons Stout had passed away.  Not only was she a friend, but she was a strong advocate of the City of Harriman and the Princess Theatre project.  She will be sorely missed by all those that knew her and worked beside her at various Harriman events.  We all need to step up and try and match her contributions and service to Harriman.

She loved the Princess and looked so forward to seeing her "grand" opening.  Sadly, she will not be there in person when that day comes, but her spirit will be with us.

May God keep you close until we meet again my friend.

Here is a montage of photos I found in my archive of Sandra...notice the smiles!
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