Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Let’s not let theater go the way of Wright hotel

by Bruce Johnson

February 14, 2013

‘For the highest task of intelligence is to grasp and recognize genuine opportunity.’

John Dewey

This city has made some serious errors in recent decades. We’re talking history, tradition, culture.

Almost half a century ago the Frank Lloyd Wright Geneva Inn was torn down. Later the Chicago and Northwestern depot was demolished.

These two structures were in touch with Geneva’s cultural past. One was a product of Wisconsin’s most famous son; the other, the community’s tie to Chicago, the lakeshore estates and all that tradition. Both are gone.

My family came to this community over a half century ago, and somehow it is hard to imagine Lake Geneva without the Geneva Theater. Movies have drifted outside town to Showboat, one of those character-less multiplexes. The Geneva Theater on Broad Street is now vacant.

Can this be anything other than opportunity, that the Geneva will become a center for the arts, something this lakeside destination of vacationers and weekend visitors truly needs?

How could this community ever construct such a venue? No lakeshore millionaire is going to build one. What other structure in the city could possibly fulfill such a need?

One cannot help believing what William James once said: “He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he tried and failed.”

Johnson is a former Badger High School teacher.