Unique tour spotlights rarely seen places in town

Imagine being given a backstage pass into some of Marietta’s more interesting buildings. This Saturday, for one day only, there is no such thing as “off-limits.”

There is something about being able to sneak a peek inside a place which is normally not accessible by the public and that is the idea behind “Hidden Places Secret Spaces,” a tour sponsored by Marietta Main Street in conjunction with Hidden Marietta, operated by Lynne Sturtevant.

“There is a movement now called ‘experiential tourism’ that lets you feel like you are doing something that other people don’t always have access to … you really get the heartbeat of the city,” said Jean G. Farmer, executive director of Marietta Main Street.

This is the second year for the tour, which Farmer said was well-attended last year thanks to word of mouth.

“We had about 160 attend last year but we are advertising (the event) even more this year, so we are expecting more people to come out,” she said.

The stops on the tour include the oldest commercial building in town at 100 Putnam St., the current home to the Marietta Community Foundation; a look below the city – under 122 Putnam St. – to see old windows and doors when Marietta’s street level was once lower; a once bustling freight and passenger train hub behind the Glass Press building; and the Mid-Ohio Valley Players theater, which is typically only seen by the public from the seats in the house.

“Our backstage, including the green room, dressing rooms and makeup room, as well as the costume room, our third floor annex and the tech loft will all be on the tour,” said Kevin Paskawych, a MOVP member and director of the next show “The Complete History of America (Abridged).”

Paskawych said he was approached about including MOVP on the tour this year, an idea which was ultimately approved by the board.

“We are trying to increase our community involvement and we want to get people through our doors,” he said. “The more we can get out and improve our community profile, in ways other than our shows, the better.”

The building which houses the community theater dates back to 1915, when it was known as the vaudeville theater, The Putnam. At one time, the theater was a cinema and the public will be able to see the old projection room.

Tickets for the tour are $15 and are available at Marietta Main Street offices, The Workingman’s Store, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and The Cook’s Shop.

The places can be visited in any order between 1 and 4 p.m., and maps are available through Marietta Main Street. Some places require climbing steps and taking care when walking. Special arrangements may be made by contacting organizers.

An after-party with cash bar will be held at the Adelphia Music Hall on Second Street from 4 to 6 p.m., offering tour participants an opportunity to chat about the tour, Marietta history and upcoming Marietta Main Street events. For more information, call 740-885-8194.