Small Market Meetings

FEB 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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February 2017 43 The auditorium was built in 1885, and "it's beautiful," said Stacey Massey, executive director of the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, which owns and man- ages the property. The Sisters of Mercy went to Chicago to tour various auditoriums and theaters before having plans drawn up, she said. The auditorium often hosts concerts and fundraising events, and was the film loca- tion for the scene in "O Brother, Where Art Thou" in which George Clooney and the Soggy Bottom Boys perform during the Homer Stokes Hoedown. The space can accommodate about 250 guests at tables or 400 in theater-style seating, and classrooms upstairs offer more breakout space. The 1937 Academy Building once housed a Catholic school, and several of its classrooms serve as commu- nity space for cooking classes, painting workshops, afterschool programs, and meeting rooms or breakout space for conferences. The 1955 gymnasium is leased out for wrestling and fitness classes, so it's not available to groups, but the buildings surround a central court- yard with big trees that's popular for live music and receptions. M a i n S t r e e t S t a t i o n Main Street Station R i c h m o n d , V i r g i n i a Richmond, Virginia The Main Street Station in downtown Richmond, Virginia, is hard to miss. With an ornate domed clock tower and little turrets jutting up from its red-tile roof, the historic red-brick building is both a city landmark and an architectural icon. Designed in the Renaissance Revival style and originally opened in 1901, the train station served two major railroads: the north-south Seaboard Air Line Railroad and the east-west Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Railroad line. A decline in passenger service and severe damage from hurricane flooding eventually led to the station's closure in 1975. But a full renovation restored the city- owned property to its original elegance, and Amtrak restored passenger rail service to the station in December 2003. Plans call for it to serve as the north- ernmost stop for a high-speed rail corridor and as an intermodal station for city bus service. The striking landmark is hugely popular for events. Giant, arching windows sit above the wooden entrance doors, and on the concourse, columns soar to ornate tray ceiling panels and globed chandeliers. The station can accommodate events for up to 730 people, but set- ups that include dancing or tables usually mean a maximum of 400 guests. On the second level, small groups of about 20 can use the Old Dining Room or the Old Retiring Room, which includes a working fireplace. Crews are now renovating the station's adjacent 100,000-square-foot train shed. When the nearly $90 million project is complete this spring, the building will include event space, retail shops, a welcome center and infrastructure for high-speed rail.

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