TUNKHANNOCK — When the Dietrich Theater opened in 1937, its marquee was appropriately lit with the lighting of the time — neon — to blend with its art deco architecture.
Today, it is newly lit for the 21st century with LED lighting, thanks to grants from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region and the Tunkhannock Rotary Club, the encouragement of Frank Oliver, friend of the Dietrich, and the technical expertise of Craig Mark, of Kelmark, LLC and Bill Corcoran, of B & B Signs.
Many times over the years the Dietrich Theater marquee was dark or partially lit, due to the sensitivity of neon lighting. Costly repairs were frequent. Then the transition to LED lighting became an option.
Bringing LED lighting to the Dietrich Theater enables the historic marquee to shine brightly throughout cold and stormy weather, which was a challenge for the old neon lighting. LED is more durable, longer lasting and less expensive. LED lighting is 90 percent more efficient than neon or incandescent lighting and requires little maintenance. Some may miss the romance and nostalgia of the neon lighting, but the difference is subtle, and for most, unnoticeable.
One of the missions of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region (EMHR) is to help preserve the historic integrity of the region. It is understood that the beautiful art deco Dietrich Theater is part of the Endless Mountains historic landscape and that the marquee not only helps notify the public about movies and cultural events happening at the Dietrich, but it also maintains the unique and historic rural character of our region.
Along with the lighting, additional improvements,such as the cleaning and re-painting of the facade, were accomplished by Dietrich Theater Maintenance Manager and Marquee Project Manager Jim Hudock, and Dietrich volunteer Jim Rosengrant, who are always ready to get the job done.
The Tunkhannock Rotary Club, which is supportive of civic improvements, was quick to help sponsor the Dietrich Theater marquee renovation. Now Rotarians can point with pride to another major contribution they made to keep the integrity of the historic Tunkhannock landscape.