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V.I.A. Theater, 430 Central Ave.

c. 1915, Prairie style 

The V.I.A. Theater is significant for its association to the Crescent City Village Improvement Association. Organized in 1890 by a group of fifteen local women, the V.I.A. is the second oldest woman’s club in Florida. It initially met in the town’s library until building its own clubhouse about 1893 on the north side of Central Avenue between Main and Summit streets. Among the club’s early activities were beautification efforts, management of the town’s library, and the sponsorship of local social events. It pushed hard for improvements such as paved streets, sidewalks, parks, clean water and electric service, and proper sewerage and drainage. In 1914 the club sponsored the erection of the V.I.A. Theater, which was completed the following year. The Prairie style building, which now serves as a warehouse for Producer’s Ace Hardware, was the first theater erected in the town. The ladies used the proceeds from the motion pictures to fund the library and other projects. In 1924 the V.I.A. changed its name to the Crescent City Woman’s Club. The V.I.A. Theater is the only building remaining that can be linked to the V.I.A. and the important role that organization played in the evolution of the community during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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