It was an ordinary job for workers as they first began tearing down the old walls to renovate the historic “Talent Factory Theater,” in Iowa. They were all aware of the importance of the building, along with the generations of performers that have passed through- but what they didn’t know, was what they might find while they were doing it. Once workers started removing an old floorboard from the 3rd-floor bathroom, that’s when they spotted something out of place, and unusual lodged between the wood frame that quickly caught everyone’s attention.
It began as a movie theater in the 1920’s, but when the theater couldn’t compete with newer more glamorous theaters beginning to open up nearby, the owners decided to turn it into venue for comedy and talent shows. Once again it started to thrive in its new found function, breaking many new performers and comedians that arrived on its stage.
So when the new owners, Larry Sloan and his wife, decided it was time to update the old theater, they were a bit reluctant because of the history that belonged to the building. Still, they knew it was time and set off to work on renovating the antiquated old theater building.
When workers opened up the floor-boards in one of the old 3rd-story bathrooms is when they first saw it. “It was a plastic wallet. And a little calendar inside told him it was last seen in 1944, making the wallet over 70 years old. To give you an idea of how old that really is, the owner’s phone number was ‘8’ when he had lost it. Just ‘8’.”
Prior to purchasing the old theater, Sloan, had been a private investigator. His old sleuthing ways kicked in once again, as he wondered if it might be possible to track down the family of the original owners. To his surprise, he was able to find 85-year-old Clare McIntosh. He took the old piece of history to her, reuniting her with a piece of the past that she didn’t even know existed. just adds to the story and history that the theater will continue to be able to tell to future generations that come to enjoy it.
This was just one of the stories that the old Iowa Talent Factory Theater had to tell. Sloan and his family are just happy they can continue to add to its colorful history- hoping it will continue to tell its stories to the future generations that come to enjoy it.