FACE LIFT: Jim Pace of Pace Construction of Thayer is doing the renovation on the Beck Theater building and four office buildings on Chestnut Street. The building have been purchased by the Steed Brothers. The project has been in the works for three weeks and Butch Steed said he is hoping to have it complete in approximately three more weeks.
THAYER -- About three months ago the Steed brothers, Butch, Kevin, Jerry and Kelly, purchased the old Beck Theater and four rental offices on Chestnut Street in downtown Thayer from Myrtice Cooper.
Butch Steed said the buildings were bought and are being renovated to help make the downtown area look better. He said at this time the family does not have plans to show movies at the theater.
The brothers are replacing all the brick and metal on the outside of the buildings. Jim Pace Construction of Thayer is doing the work.
The Beck Theater building was most recently occupied by the Ozarks Volunteers. The help organization has moved to Second Street.
The building was built by Cooper's grandfather, H.J.F. Davis, between 1910 and 1915. Cooper does not know the exact date the building was built. The recorder of deeds office at Alton could not establish an exact date of when the building was built either.
Cooper does know it was a general store.
At one time there were two theaters located in the building, the Royal Theater and the Beck Theater.
In January 1946 Mr. and Mrs. John Beck Jr. purchased the interest in the Royal Theater owned by Mr. Beck's mother, Margaret Beck.
The Becks had worked in the theater business 20 years prior to purchasing the Royal Theater. The name of the theater was then changed to the Beck Theater honoring Beck's father, the late John A. Beck Sr.
The neon Beck Theater sign was installed at the building in September 1946.
The Becks' son, J.A. Beck, was also involved in the running of the theater. He said his father died in 1973 and he operated the theater until 1975 when he sold it to Dick Mooney.
Mooney kept the theater in operation until February 1979 when he sold it to Bob and Joe Dan Tucker.
The Tucker brothers showed movies until 1981 at the Beck Theater. Both brothers said they cannot remember the last movie shown at the theater.
The Coopers owned the property through all the different theater owners.
Butch Steed said he is going to have the neon Beck Theater sign restored. He said he has located the original seats that belonged in the theater and, if they are in good shape, will put them back inside the building.
"We might even build a stage, and shows can be performed in the theater building," Steed said.
The four other business adjoining the theater are Thayer Sewing and Vacuum, Gladin Eder Insurance, The Clothing Connection and a military surplus store that sells goods on the Internet.
Steed said he expects the renovation project to take about six weeks.