This past April, I was asked to speak at the Hamilton Deaf Club of St. Paul, Minnesota. Although this is located two miles from the University of Minnesota, I had never heard of this organization or been aware of the architectural gem that has served as their facility for over 85 years.
In the club was a drop curtain by the Twin City Scenic Co. of Minneapolis painted on asbestos fabric in 1916, above, with detail below.
After documentation, I returned to my office and located the original sketch in the Performing Arts Collection online shown below.
A month later, I was asked about a donation of materials and sketches found in the Northwest Studio, a competitor to Twin City Scenic and located literally two blocks apart. To my amazement, there was the same center composition in an advertisement drop sketch, shown below. The sketch for the ad curtain is surrounded by decorative squares available for rent or purchase by local businesses.
How this image morphed or traveled from Twin City Scenic to Northwest Studios and from a drop curtain to an ad drop is certainly fodder for my future research. More important is the insight that there are still many extant drops and sketches tucked away in various old theatres, ethnic and social halls that supported American culture and theatre in the 19th and early-20th century. So with that said, the beat goes on and if you uncover any gems, please let me know of your discoveries!!!