On Saturday, Somerset debuted what the city renamed ‘The Virginia’ to the public in an open house, and the theatre was met with feelings of nostalgia.
Mayor Alan Keck said, “I thought it was extra special cause there were probably four generations represented. You could see the pride from the older generation, saying this has been rebuilt and all these memories that we had. I could also see the excitement on the younger generation that was looking towards the future. I probably had four or five couples say they had their first date here.”
Built in 1922, The Virginia was a family-owned business bringing the movie theatre experience to Somerset. Over the next 72 years, it would be a part of some of the fondest memories for the city’s lifelong residents.
One of those residents is Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield.
“I came with my parents, my dad was an Army veteran and he wanted to see the movie Paton,” Hatfield said.
Hatfield said he would continue to come years later with his wife.
“We would come to Dairy Queen and walk up and see movies at the Virginia a couple times a week,” Hatfield said.
The Virginia had to close down in 1994 after an ice storm caused its roof to collapse.
“Like so many small towns, there was a hole in the downtown,” Mayor Keck said.
The city bought the property from its Downtown Development Corporation 27 years later, and spend $2.3 million dollars on renovating it into the modern event space it is today, even preserving the building’s original walls.
Fast forward 100 years since it was built, The Virginia will be more than a cinema. The city plans to use it for concerts, conventions, and anything the community needs it for.
“It’s going to help our restaurants, shops, hotels,” Mayor Keck said. “I believe this will become the premier live music venue in the state of Kentucky.”
For information on upcoming concerts, starting with Bee Taylor the second weekend of July, click here: thevirginiaky.com