For the past few days, West Vine Street has been filled with the pleasant noise of a construction crew hard at work. Those of you passing by in car or on foot may have noticed something a little different about the Vine Street theater entrance. All that remains of the stairway are the treads as the contractors work diligently to reconfigure the steps to meet modern building codes. This includes adjusting the height and width of each step to allow for a larger landing at the top of the stairs, and a safer foothold for patrons going up and down the stairs. Beneath the steps you can see the exterior structure of the small office created in the crawlspace of Sips.
In addition to adjusting the stairway, the contractors are preparing to adjust the interior window above the stairs that allows borrowed natural light to penetrate the 2nd-floor hallway. The Vine Street entrance became the most commonly used entrance to the Woodward Opera House patrons beginning in the early-1880s after the theater was enlarged to accommodate larger productions and audiences. This entrance will serve that same purpose once the project is complete, with South Main Street entrance primarily serving the 2nd-floor businesses.