Bardavon - Legendary Performers Since 1869


Capital Campaign for the Millennium
October, 2000:


Sixty-four years ago, photographers perched on the Bardavon marquee covered the campaign speech Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered to a crowd of 12,000 from the balcony of the Nelson House across the street. Pointing up the block to the county courthouse, the site of the 1788 ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Roosevelt proudly proclaimed that New York had agreed to ratify only on the condition that the document would contain a Bill of Rights.


As we dig into old newspaper issues for the Bardavon archive, we find that our stretch of Market Street holds layer upon layer of history. Passages in the Bardavon's own long life span often reflect these moods and moments. Since its construction as the Collingwood Opera House in 1869, the theater has brought five different marquees to this vital streetscape, each the sign of a different era. The marquee that faced FDR in 1936 was by far the most glamorous. Typical of Paramount movie palaces of the period, it combined stained glass medallions with a brilliant array of dancing incandescent lights meant to lift America's spirits after the Crash and through the Depression.


The end of this 2000/2001 season will see the restoration of the Bardavon's marquee back to the Art Deco splendor of the 1931 structure. As a fitting conclusion to the five year Capital Campaign for the Millennium, we are proud to offer our city's downtown this new beacon for progress, one that will bring the beauty and excitement of Poughkeepsie's distinguished past to the doorstep of a hopeful future. A companion project will provide façade/entranceway and box office renovations carefully restoring the stunning William Beardsley design of 1923.



Launching the Capital Campaign for the Millennium in the mid-1990's was a considerable risk when many local nonprofits struggled to survive in the aftermath of a disastrous economy. Bringing this campaign to a successful conclusion while institutionalizing the acquired Hudson Valley Philharmonic operations has posed an even greater risk. Yet, with the generous support of longstanding and new friends, all this has been possible. Generous funding commitments made by The Dyson Foundation and Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust enabled us to initiate the campaign. These pledges and a challenge grant awarded in June 1999 by The Kresge Foundation have stimulated tremendous matching support on the part of other foundation, corporate and government donors. Members of the Bardavon Board of Directors have led with their support, motivating many other individuals to give generously.

Several key government agencies have awarded substantial continuing support in recognition of the Bardavon's importance as a cultural anchor and tourism destination of the strategic Hudson Valley region. On the state level, NYS Environmental Protection Fund and Community Enhancement Facilities Assistance Program grants were awarded through the auspices of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. The NYS Council on the Arts Capital Program has been a constant supporter and reports that the Bardavon is the single highest recipient of NYSCA capital grant funds in the state. Add to this, generous annual allocations from Dutchess County and the City of Poughkeepsie, and the result is a stable platform on which to build strong private sector giving.


The Dyson, Nuhn and Kresge leadership and challenge gifts have rallied exceptional campaign and program support from the region's foundation community, resulting in grants from the: Louis Greenspan Charitable Trust; Millbrook Tribute Garden; McCann Foundation; Plymouth Hill Foundation; Handel Foundation; Thomas W. & Florence T. Murphy Fund of the NY Community Trust; Logan Trust; Wheaton Foundation; and an anonymous foundation donor. Likewise, the Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency has led a major league corporate team starring: Central Hudson; M&T Bank; Fleet Bank; Premier National Bank; Rohde, Soyka & Andrews; and D. Wilson Electric.

© 2016 Bardavon/UPAC
Last modified: 2009-05-18 14:20:42