The last piece of the recreation of the historic Paramount Theater was hoisted into place Thursday morning when the 33′ blade was secured to the front of the theater.
“This is giving me chills,” says Jane Belisle, one of the onlookers gathered on the Downtown Mall around 9:30am to watch a crane hoist the 3,000-pound Blade into the air and over to the front of the Paramount.
The new sign started its journey December 2 in Ohio from Wagner Signs, which specializes in theatrical and vertical signs, says Katherine Davis, Paramount marketing director. From there it went to Hightech Signs in Charlottesville, and then to the mall for installation at 6:30am December 3.
There was a brief bit of welding an extra 1.25 inches on the support beams in the front of the theater to make everything fit, according to Davis. “They said that wasn’t uncommon,” she says.
“We found drawings of the original blade in the theater,” says Davis. “This is an exact replica of the sign that hung from 1931 to the 1960s.”
The new blade costs $175,000, including shipping, installation and the all-LED lightbulbs. So far, the Paramount has raised a little more than $160,000, and Davis expects the fundraising goal to be met in a final push before December 15, when it will be lit for the first time.