Walla Walla theater makes state's heritage register

WALLA WALLA -- The Power House Theatre is officially on the Washington State Heritage Register.

The Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation unanimously approved the theater's application, said Denise Slattery, a spokeswoman for the theater announced Monday.

"This milestone is a significant achievement in and of itself, (and) clears the way for an application to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C.," said Denise Slattery.

Power House Theatre board requested that the 120-year-old brick building and its property be listed in the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year.

To have achieved success is not only an honor but also means the owners of the historic building will find it a bit easier to fund funding to keep maki8ng improvements, Slattery said.

"To achieve this means gaining access to significant federal funds that will become available to support the continued rehab of the Power House Theatre," she said. "Renovation is scheduled in phases to bring the interior and exterior of the building up to full operation. Phase 1 was the build out of the interior of the theater seating and stage design.

"Now that the theater is listed on the state register we can expect to be listed on the national registry and with that take full advantage of these funds to make the necessary infrastructure improvements as part of Phase 2 and 3 planning."

The theater group has spent the last year going through the paperwork to get on the historic register, she added.

The Shakespeare Walla Walla theater group, which rents the Power House Theatre for all of its productions, was unable to raise the necessary capital to purchase and construct the aging building, Slattery said.

"The rents are used to operate and maintain the Power House Theatre," she added. "The owners have made Shakespeare Walla Walla as the preferred use of the Power House Theatre."

That means each year the theater's owners will cater to the Shakespeare group's schedule first before it opens other dates to other productions, she said.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com