Athena's Gem, Inc. received $35,000 from OCF's Community Grants Program to support its renovation of the historic Gem Theatre and Star Saloon in Athena. Built in 1901 by the Jacob Betz Brewing Company, the building became a theater in 1909 after the town passed a law banning saloons. The Gem was remodeled in 1938 and operated continuously until 1968, when it fell into disuse. In 2004, the dilapidated building was donated to the city, which transferred it to Athena's Gem for renovation.athenas gem
The restored Gem Theatre will provide the community — including arts students in the Athena-Weston School District — with a much-needed gallery and performance space. The building will also feature a community kitchen, a working 1915 soda fountain and a Hodaka motorcycle museum highlighting Athena's former status as Hodaka headquarters. OCF's investment in this project complements a generous outpouring of community donations and more than 5,000 hours of volunteer labor.