The theater was built in 1938 at an approximate cost of $70,000. A $1.6 million federally-funded renovation project was recently completed to upgrade the interior, including new seating, restrooms and lighting. With the assistance of preservationists, the renovation maintains the building’s historical features while making modern-day improvements. The 1,000-seat facility has hosted many dignitaries during its 80-year history, including comedian Bob Hope.
Another improvement at Camp Perry is the replacement of five guest cottages, which had existed since 1942. Each new cottage sleeps eight people, with three bedrooms, two full baths and a view of Lake Erie. The $2.1 million project is state funded.
“We are making an investment in Camp Perry Joint Training Center to preserve more than a century of military history and to improve facilities used year-round by the Ohio National Guard and the community,” said Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio adjutant general.
The ribbon-cutting was held in conjunction with the National Matches, a five-week shooting competition held at Camp Perry since 1907 that attracts more than 6,000 participants annually. The competition’s opening ceremony took place Monday at the Friends of Camp Perry Memorial Plaza.
Camp Perry Joint Training Center is located on the shores of Lake Erie in Ottawa County and includes a National Guard training facility, public lodging and banquet facilities. It opened in 1907 as a state rifle range and camp. During World War I, it was used as a training center for officers and marksmanship instructors, and it was used during World War II as a reception center for the new recruits and to house German and Italian prisoners of war.
The Ohio National Guard, with more than 16,000 personnel, responds with ready units and personnel when called for federal, state and community missions and is an operational reserve of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.