Reflections: The Dreamland: 120 and still standing

By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

It sets at 205 West Main Street parallel to the railroad tracks in Cardington where it was constructed in 1900.

It was built as a theater, owned by Aiden Carter and his son, Bill, managing it. Silent movies and later, sound were offered regularly with weekly ads in the local paper announcing what as to be playing.

From the Feb. 26, 1920 Independent: Dreamland program lists the silent movie, “Pitfalls of a Big City,” playing. Admission was 25 cents and 10 cents.

The Dreamland closed its doors as a movie theater somewhere in the mid 1920s and was used for many years as a site for local performers, those being mainly, school groups.

The Cardington Theater on West Main Street, just west of the hotel, then offered first run movies for several years in the early 1930’s. This was previously the site of the Lyric Theater and in the Mid-1930’s it became The Dreamland — same name as that at 205 West Main. This site was later filled by Gandee Bakery.

The original Dreamland was sold to H. N. Oberlander about 1930 where he operated a service station with pumps out front and a garage in the rear of the building. An apartment upstairs was remodeled with the same couple living there for four years before Kensel (Zeb) and Vinnie Russell took up residence.

They operated a wholesale and retail automotive parts business that included antiques, salvage and welding in the old Dreamland building. A popular ad from the Russells stated “Automotive; Wholesale- Retail Zeb Russell dealer in Everything!” The Russell family lived in the upstairs apartment for many years.

In 1950 the Russells purchased the building from H. N. Oberlander, grandson of H. N. Zeb Russell passed away in 1968. The building was later sold to Charlie and Penny Albright, who rented out the upstairs apartment and lived for awhile in the lower part of the building, transformed into an apartment.

Later the lower half had several businesses, including a beauty salon.

Darcy Kazee current owner of the building, rented out the upstairs apartment for awhile but the building is currently vacant. Kazee said she is impressed by the huge cuts of stone that make the basement walls, they having been placed there before 1900 during its construction.

Trains passing on the tracks alongside the building, have always brought a tremor to it but neither the train related tremors nor the 1981 tornado affected it adversely. Jeff Trusler, who along with his wife, Amy, own the nearby Patriot Bar/Grill, are currently purchasing the “Dreamland” from Kazee. Jeff states that he hopes to redo it into a rental property. He, too, is impressed by the building’s solidarity after all these years.

No matter the number of owners or names of businesses, it will always remain as Cardington’s Dreamland Theatre.

70 years ago: Cardington High School senior, Don Reinwald placed second in the state’s Class B oratorical Declamation contest held at OSU in Columbus Dottie Lou Haycook, Cardington seventh grader, won the Grand Championship in the annual oral Morrow County School spelling contest

60 years ago: Melvin Maceyko was named assistant general accountant at Marion Power Shovel; Mrs. Ella Rhodes of South Marion Street, observed her 97th birthday on March 31.

50 years ago: Jacqueline M. Winchell of rural Cardington, was named as a crew leader for Morrow County for the 1970 United States Census of population and housing. She was responsible for supervising the work of 15 census enumerators in the county.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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Reach us at [email protected]