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      Seminole Theatre

      The 1940 Story

      ..The spring of '40, they led away *Big Shorty*..

      writer/SOUTH DADE NEWS LEADER\retired..page2

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      *I traded my broom for a hammer

      I had been working on several other jobs with the contractor, V. L. Harris Sr. It was a few days after the fire when I began working once again at the Seminole Theatre and once again in clean up. But this time I didn't use a broom. I used a hammer. As I recall, this was about the middle of March, 1940. The fire had burned the fallen roof structure. The most of what was left standing was the wooden balcony structure, back up to the projection booth and the framework in the three apartments that was incorporated in the high frame front wall. Using long crow bars and hammers, we dug into this well built pine structure. I worked with John Chapman, a carpenter who had worked on it (Seminole Theatre) originally. Also, there was Cully Blair, a carpenter helper. This was very dangerous work, so we 3 kept our eye on each other. One time I looked around and no John. He had stepped on the ceiling lath of the lower floor after the floor boards were removed. The floor joist had caught him by his arm pits. he wasn't hurt, but highly embarrassed when his body was dangling in the story below!

      When we would throw over long heavy timbers, they would often spring and jump around, sometimes as much as 50 feet! Eventually, with all the crews working, all the wood was taken out, leaving only, the dirt floor, the bare poured concrete walls on the sides and rear. The concrete canopy had been built strong over the sidewalk, it was not disturbed. Everything looked naked!


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