Catalpa Blog


21 February, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment

   Well, actually, not "CAMERA", because our theater will house live shows.  Believe it or not, kids, before movies, television, the internet, videos and YouTube, the only entertainment was live!  Vaudeville and musical theater were huge attractions in the cities and the circus came to towns, big and little, every year (sadly, we recently got the news that Ringling Brothers Circus, the "greatest show" of them all, will be closing down this year).

   A very special genre of live entertainment, of course, is the magic show.  Before the advent of recorded entertainment  in any form, magicians were the rock stars of their day, staging lavish and glamorous full-length productions complete with gorgeous costumes and scenery.  No other act paralleled the drama and mystery of these live magic shows.

   Live entertainment, to be sure, still commands huge crowds and will never lose its appeal.  However, the full-scale "feature length" magic show has been a rare attraction in our day, outside of somewhere like Las Vegas.  More than that, theaters devoted exclusively to magic performances are hardly ever seen; in fact, there are only something like a dozen such places in existence in our country.

   Now Catalpa Trading Company adds a new name to the very short list of magic theaters and brings back the full-scale production in the style of the great magicians of the past.  Not in New York or Las Vegas, but in Berlin, Ohio, the middle of Amish Country, you will be able to come and see entertainment, not only rare and historic, but filled with great fun and excitement!





05 February, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment


Artist's Conception

   In the depths of winter an amazing place is coming to life day by day.  Our theater already holds an atmosphere of drama and excitement.  Evoking the style and spirit of the grand old theatres and opera houses of a day gone by, the setting is both majestic and intimate.

   Rich colors of crimson, green and cream decorate the soaring proscenium arch that frames the stage.  Beautiful antique fixtures that at one time were actual open-flame gaslights adorn the ceiling.  Gilded "gingerbread" trim adds  just the right note of old-fashioned elegance.  The vintage ambiance is warm and welcoming, promising big thrills, good times and great entertainment ahead.

    Coming days will see a very special feature added - an imposing gallery of antique magic posters arrayed on the walls of the theatre - Blackstone, Carter, Alexander, Fu-Manchu, Sorcar and many more of the great names from the world of wondrous magic acts throughout the years.

   Four of the most famous magicians ever to live were from Ohio and these four will be featured by at least one of their original posters.  They are Macdonald Birch, Connellsville, OH, Grover George, Zanesville, OH, The Great Raymond, Akron, OH, and Howard Thurston, Columbus, OH.  We wanted to make sure Ohio's foremost magicians were represented.


   We are privileged to have as our contractors the very talented and able men of Berlin Construction.  More than just workman, these men are truly artisans, and their handiwork is amazing.  Every day we see more and more of the beautiful things they create.  



24 January, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment

The year 2017 is underway, and we have a number of "new things" to talk about.  The top question, of course, on the minds of all our readers is, "What's the latest news on the theater?"  We want to take a little space to fill you in on all that has been happening.


Our last post marked the near-completion of the outside work on our construction.  This phase of our building was concluded before the weather turned more wintry.  









Then it was time for the intricate inside work - quite an amazing operation!

The artisans of Berlin Construction are a wonder to behold!

P. S.  We are finally publishing comments that came in a while back!  We are going to get the hang of this blogging slowly, but surely!


14 November, 2016 1 comment Leave a comment

The exterior is complete except for gutters!
This beautiful November weather has made for great working conditions.  Now the interior work is underway beginning with plumbing.
Festive Times on the Way!
Hard to believe we're in the midst of November with Thanksgiving next week!  We haven't even bought a turkey yet -  and we also have four family birthdays this month!
 This time of year has its own special beauty - bare black trees have a lacy look graced with smoky mist on chilly mornings brushed with frost.

WOW! Look at this!

13 November, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Amazing progress!!


07 November, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

This is our door on the ground level out behind the shop and will be used for handicap access.
Here is where our entrance will be;  this is located in the area of the shop that currently houses toys, magic and novelties.
And now - the roof!
Things are moving quickly now - meetings this week about all sorts of decisions.


04 November, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

     Mild weather began the month of November, perfect for the framing of our building project.  Seeing it all take shape is a great thrill!

Watch Our Builders At Work!


More progress reports coming up very soon!!


20 October, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

  We have expanded our work force to include a bevy of beautiful white doves.  One of the hallmarks of a great magic show is the production and vanish of livestock.  Rabbits,of course, are most commonly associated with magicians, but white doves add a lovely and glamorous attraction to any show.

Take a look at our new stars!

 Happy Birthday, Bruce!

   We want to extend our best wishes to Bruce Hummel, who just celebrated his birthday!  Bruce has been a good friend and benefactor ever since we opened for business in Berlin over 20 years ago.  His sweet mother Mary Hummel was our landlady for many years and the building that houses our business in Berlin was once used for the Hummel Insurance Agency (now they have the beautiful structure you can see on the right when you come into Berlin from the east on Hoghway 39).



07 October, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

The walls are going up!  We are having beautiful weather for our construction.
Below you can see what will be our under-the-stage area.  It's really exciting to see it all shaping up!


You can also see here the view from behind our shop.  They have now repaved that road as well and it is really nice.

     Berlin has been and is having all kinds of new things being done this year.  There's big construction over at the Comfort Inn for 48 more rooms plus conference facilities.


This is a beautiful time of year to come to Amish country with pumpkins and corn shocks all around.  Farm stands abound with the harvest of fruit and vegetables fresh from the fields.   Remember that you can no longer park on the street in Berlin.  There are two good parking lots in town - one is located behind Sommers General Store; turn down the road beside Helping Hands Quilt Shop and take the next left.  The other parking lot is in behind the Old Mill complex (in the middle of town across from Ginger House Coffee Shop.  If you know of anyone coming to Berlin, please share this information with them. Thanks!


28 September, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

  No sooner have we begun this blog, but there is more news! Construction on our theater began just last Friday, September 23, and here only a few days later rebar and footers were put in today as shown below.  Concrete blocks to follow soon!

   After the footers are digged out and framed, rebar must be added.  Before 12" of concrete was placed over the rebar, the entire structure had to be approved by a state inspector, which occurred this morning at 10:00.  By 12:00 concrete was being poured and by 4:00 the entire process was finished. 

   Magic tricks are truly amazing, but no less astounding than witnessing the skilled artisans forming and molding an entire theater from a blank parking lot covered with asphalt!  It' s like real magic!


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