Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Stories: Star Theater and Good All Electric

In a continuation of the story of the Townsend family in Sutherland, here are the excerpts of the Star Theater and Good All Electric as found in the Sutherland Centennial Book, 1891 - 1991.

Star Theater

During the time of the construction of the Sutherland Reservoir, in October, 1934, employees of the Robert Goodall Company of Ogallala made a trip to Purcell, Oklahoma, to install sound equipment in a theater there. John G. Townsend, who lived there, assisted in the installation and discussed the availability of work for the company. The devastation of the land and farms during the Dust Bowl days had caused an exodus of families to California.

John was encouraged to come to Ogallala to work in October 1934. Mr. Goodall was installing a theater in Grant and one in Sutherland, and hired John to oversee the preparation of a building in Sutherland. Equipment and furnishings were installed and the Star Theater was born.

Improvements to the theater in October 1939 included new upholstered seats and air conditioning.
Admission to the theater in 1944 was listed as Matinee: Adults $.76, Children $.40, Servicemen $.55, Evenings: Adults, $1.10, Children $.55 and Servicemen $.76.

L.E. Finecy took over management of the Star Theater on October 24, 1951, and Truman Dachenback became manager in September 1952. Irvin Brownell leased the theater in April 1953, and managed it himself. In June 1954, Irvin Brownell purchased the Star Theater and building from R.A. Goodall of Ogallala.

In July 1975, the theater reopened after being closed for several weeks. Movies were shown every two weeks, four days over the weekends.

Good All Electric

In November of 1944, John Townsend was in charge of locating a Good All factory here. The old post office building was redecorated and furnished. In May of 1945, the local branch of Good All Electric opened. The plant manufactured essential electrical parts for the U.S. Navy. The company had a large order to fill, and on August 16, 1945, it produced its one millionth condenser.

A division of Good All, Star Manufacturing expanded in the Yates building in April of 1946. In September of 1947, an ad appeared for girls age 16 years and up to wind condensers. Applicants were to see Mrs. V.A. Kessler or John Townsend. This factory operated in many vacant buildings around town for several years.

The plant closed for over a year and opened on September 14, 1950, with five girls winding. On November 22, 1951, the plant expanded to occupy the Gummere building. The expansion made a total of sixty people employed with the prospects of more jobs available later on.

On September 2, 1954, Robert Tyler purchased the Gummere building and set up a condenser plant on the upper floor.

The Townsend Company received a citation from the U.S. Treasury Department for its sale of U.S. Savings Bonds through payroll deductions.

On October 27, 1955, Mr. Townsend purchased the building occupied by the Gordon Grocery Store. He had been using the second floor and now used the entire building. Gordon no longer sold groceries, but continued to operate the locker and butcher business. Townsend Manufacturing Company received more contracts and planned to hire more workers. In September of 1957 about 110 people were winding.

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