AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - It has been 35 years since Augusta's historic Miller Theater was open and on January 7, 2017 they held an open house to the public.
"You kept hoping somebody would buy it that would care about it and bring it back. And to see it the way it is now is wonderful," says long-time Augusta resident Margie Barton.
The reopening of the Miller Theater brought out over 2,000 residents who wrapped around the corner, just waiting to see the finished masterpiece. This historic treasure's restoration didn't come at a cheap price. But with the help of many, it was made possible.
"This is the result of a $23 million capital campaign. And so, we had so many people from individuals, to corporations, to foundations, to our government," says Anne Katherine Murray.
Murray says being the Executive Director of the Orchestra Symphony at such a time as this is priceless. "I feel like I have been given the greatest gift to have this position because it is a unique time for the symphony to have its own home," says Murray.
Murray says one of their main goals was not only to restore the physical building but also the intangible memories of those who visited the Theater decades ago. "That was our job, you know. We wanted to make sure that when people walked in today, that they felt like they were going back in time," says Murray.
And that's just how resident and Miller Theater donor Barton felt. "The old cartoon movies and we used to get to run up and down the aisles. And of course back then, the people didn't care if you made a lot of noise or not," says Barton.
Many residents say the reopening feels long overdue but are so excited to finally see it come to reality. "And many times it seemed like it wasn't going to happen. And because of great leadership and generosity, it's here and there's no turning back now," says Murray.
Stories of old memories and great performances rang through the historic landmark during the open house and hopes of creating even more. Murray says the Miller Theater is working to broaden their events to all genres of music and performances and they already have several shows booked to kick off the opening.