Lanes gift Sunnydale to TLT

Published 6:46 pm Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lane of Tryon and Charleston, S.C., have gifted Sunnydale, the venerable log cabin building on South Trade Street in Tryon, to the Tryon Little Theater (TLT).
The Lanes restored the building over the past year to its original condition, recently being cited by Tryon along with Andy Millard for restoring buildings that locals have treasured for many years.
“We are very excited about the possibilities this generous gift opens up for TLT and the community,” said TLT President Rebecca Davis. “We look forward to bringing life to this wonderful building, which has now been restored so elegantly.”
Built around 1930, Sunnydale has long been a part of Tryon history, hosting dinners, dances and receptions, as well as serving as various restaurants through the years (see separate article for a history of Sunnydale).
The Tryon Little Theater gave performances there after World War II before the Tryon Fine Arts Center became its home. Many local residents remember attending their high school prom at Sunnydale, or having a very special celebratory dinner there with family and friends.
Bob and Jackie Lane said they wanted to donate Sunnydale to a local nonprofit organization that would take over its care and maintenance, and that would make it available for other organizations to use periodically. They turned to the Polk County Community Foundation for advice.
After careful consideration of which local non-profit seemed the best fit with Sunnydale’s history and their desire for continued community use of the fine old building, the Lanes selected another part of Tryon history, the Tryon Little Theater, now in its 63rd season – not counting TLT’s roots in the Drama Fortnightly which began in 1921, or the Tryon Dramatic Society around the time of World War I.
TLT said it will not give up its current black box theater at 516 S. Trade Street, a few doors down from Sunnydale. Sunnydale does not provide the needed production space for staging full scale theatrical performances, but it can be used by TLT for fundraising events, one-act nights, auditions, rehearsals, classes, staged readings, concerts, dinner theater and similar events. More than one show is often in production at the same time, and rehearsal space is at a premium, TLT said.
In addition to TLT use, Davis said, Sunnydale will be available for community use for parties, meetings and other events.
“We want this to be a gift to the entire community,” Davis said. “We hope Sunnydale will eventually be constantly in use, a center of activity for the area.”
The building will be called Sunnydale, Davis said, and it will remain in its current condition.
“An application for listing on the National Historic Register has already been filed,” Davis said. “We’re not going to turn the building into offices or storage facilities or anything like that. We want to keep the building as it is permanently. We’re grateful to Bob and Jackie Lane for their historical research and exacting diligence in restoring Sunnydale, and for entrusting this building that means so much to them to TLT’s care.”

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