, Salem, MA


February 7, 2014

Our view: A grand restoration

Fans of the arts and architecture on the North Shore have something to cheer in this weekend’s re-opening of the Ames Memorial Hall at Salem YMCA.

Built in 1896 as a concert and lecture hall, the space fell into disrepair after being converted into a gym in the 1970s.

A fundraising campaign led by former Salem State President Nancy Harrington and local businessman David Ives brought in $1.1 million. The hall now has an expanded stage and backstage, a restored balcony and new lighting and sound systems. The building is now handicapped accessible and, for those steamy summer nights, air-conditioned.

The state-of-the-art improvements were accompanied by a respect for the building’s history. Plaster moldings and decorative details were restored rather than replaced, and the marble staircase and original stained-glass windows have been refurbished.

“There was a lot of attention to history. … We restored as much history as we could,” Chris Lovasco, COO at the YMCA of the North Shore told reporter Neil H. Dempsey.

The hall will be home to the Y Theatre Company, which has served 600 to 700 children since its founding in 2008.

“It’s a wonderful space for kids to perform, but also it’s a center for arts for the entire community,” Lovasco said.

The work will be unveiled tonight with a performance by opera star Marquita Lister. Tomorrow, the center will host performances by the Y Theatre Company, the Salem Theatre Company and the Boston Ballet, among others.

It’s a fitting way to celebrate the return to prominence of one of the city’s gems.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

AP Video
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate