HISTORY OF THE BROOK THEATRE
The Brook Theatre, Bound
Jersey was built in 1924 by Alexander and Elida Morecraft and opened
in 1926. A contest to name the theatre was held in July of the
opening year. “Bijou”, “Royal” and “Mecca” were some of
the 300 suggestions, but “The Brook” was selected. The contest
winner received a $25 prize.
The Brook was constructed
large stage, 1,312 seats, and featured a 2/4 Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe
Organ. This original organ, Opus 1519, was a style B shipped from
the factory on November 26, 1926. Style B instruments included a 16’
flute, 8’ salicional, 8’ vox humana, and 8’ trumpet. Tuned
percussions were xylophone, glock, and chimes. Traps were snare, bass
and kettle drums, and cymbal. The organ was installed in a single
chamber at house right at a cost of $18,000. It was removed circa
1985-1987 and went to a radio station in Mississippi.
The interior of the Brook
elegant with its special Louis XIV décor, acoustic dome, and ornate
chandeliers. The marquee was brilliantly lit by 1,000 electric
bulbs. Vaudeville acts and circus shows were the original
entertainment. In 1927, a year after opening, movies were added
under the 20th
Century Fox, and later the Skouras, movie chains.
In 1962 building
place, and new sound projection equipment was installed. After 51
years of control by the Morecraft family, the theatre was finally
closed in 1977 when daughter Gladys retired. After that, the building
was sold and rented to various operators. In September of 1986 Phil
Neri purchased the theatre. He renovated and enlarged the stage
area, and produced only stage shows featuring name performers. It was
during this period that the original Wurlitzer organ was removed. In
1994 movies returned as the Roberts chain took over operation of the
1999 when the venue was flooded by Hurricane Floyd, the Brook Theatre
was purchased by a non-profit organization and turned into the Brook
Arts Center. Over three million dollars of federal, state and county
funding have been provided to purchase and rehabilitate the flood
damaged theatre with new electric service, plumbing, heating and air
comfortable seating was installed and the theatre reopened seven
years after the flood in the fall of 2006.
that time the Brook Arts Center has AGAIN been refurbished and
reopened following a second flood in 2007.