On June 7th, 2017 Mike Wolfe traveled to Cleveland, Ohio where he visited the winners of his “This Place Matters” contest, the Historic Variety Theatre.

In partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the “This Place Matters” campaign invited Mike’s friends, fans and followers across the country to submit photos of buildings significant to them and their communities and in need of life-saving repair and restoration. The campaign generated a wide and enthusiastic response, with submissions  ranging from old private homesteads to dilapidated public spaces, and after careful consideration of the many #placestosave, the Variety Theatre was chosen to win a visit from Mike.

Variety Theatre Cleveland, Ohio.
Variety Theatre Cleveland, Ohio. All photos by Ruggero Fatic

Mike was welcomed to Cleveland by an enthusiastic crowd and a group of city officials who took him on a private tour of the theater and the city block-sized complex that will soon house restaurants, retail spaces, and offices. Shortly after, he spoke for about 10 minutes to the crowd and to his millions of followers through LIVE videos and photos, expressing his appreciation for the community’s support for the ongoing project. he also talked about his own passion for preserving America’s history and the buildings that tell the stories.

“Heritage tourism is one of the important things we can all lean into nowadays. This isn’t just a project for the neighborhood. It’s a project for the entire city of Cleveland,” he said. “When you walk into an old building like the Variety Theatre it’s something that never leaves you. You become a child all over again. You want to touch and explore everything. There’s so much of that wonder here. That experience is going to be had again thanks to the heartfelt commitment of this community.”

Mike Wolfe speaks outside the Variety Theatre
Mike Wolfe speaks outside the Variety Theatre

As a thank you, the Variety Theatre board named him the honorary chairman for the capital campaign to raise the remaining amount needed for the eight-figure restoration of the early 1900s theater.

“No one has ever given up on this theater,” said Mike. “You have one or two people who truly believed in this and everyone around them said ‘ I want to be a part of that.’ That’s what ‘This Place Matters’ was about and that’s why this place matters.”

The Variety Theatre’s anticipated completion date is 2019.

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10 Comments

10 thoughts on ““This Place Matters” Wrap-Up: Variety Theatre”

  1. Jayne Ansberry

    Thank you for the “wrap-up” article on The Historic Variety Theatre, Sarah Buckholtz! I’m so glad I entered it into this national contest. It was a thrill to win & to have taken part in something so meaningful. Having Mike there raised the bar in bringing further awareness to the cause of restoration & revitalization in not only Cleveland, Ohio, but to America’s cities & towns through his fan base. It was a day filled with inspiration & hope. I know The Variety Theatre would be honored to have Two Lanes, Mike Wolfe, & Team Antique Archeology revisit after it’s completion in its goal year of 2019. May others continue to strive to save the places that matter to their community. Thank you again for everything!

  2. Judy Horton

    The work Mike is doing to rehab older properties or sections of cities is so valuable. I hope he continues to be passionate about theses
    important pieces of our past.

  3. Drew

    Your show is awesome! To see some of the artifacts you guys pull out of places is amazing! Danielle s awesome at her job, but she used to be super hot… before she made her hair grey. Frank needs to eases up on the bitchin about prices and trying to rip people off but the show ROCKS overall. Thanks for the joyous episodes.

  4. Kathy Bowman

    Mike, we love, love your show. The quips between you and Frank are so interesting. You educate us while we are enjoying your hunting for that perfect piece of Rust.
    What we do not like is… Roberts narrative during the show. We can see that you and Frank are in the truck or getting out of the truck. We do not need someone treating us as though we are retarded. Get Robert a real job and quit the yak yak that is NOT necessary.
    You and Frank keep on junking, cus we love you.

  5. Kevin C.

    Thank you Mike & Frank.
    You both have America up and moving. Keeping this great countries past alive and blooming. From old buildings to an old oil can or wooden bicycle wheel the seed has been planted and is growing. We will be riding our Harleys from Massachusetts to Alabama in September and are making a stop in to see your shop in Nashville. Hope to see you there.
    Ride safe.

  6. Jimi Howard

    Love your show. I have seen episode several times over. PLEASE let Danille go on more picks. Cannot get enough of her. Shes very funny and not to mention, drop-dead gorgous!!! Thank you.

  7. Waunita Hobart

    Have vintage, collectables & antiques to sell. One is a 1912 RCA victrola. Still works. How do we contact American Pickers to see if interested?

  8. Karen Shelly

    I love love love your show, I watch every episode I can. If you ever decide to get a theme song, I know the perfect one.

    Jerry Lee Lewis – A Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On…

  9. Marsha Goldman gerstein

    I love what you do and the interest you are bringing to young people. You have also helped so many antique dealers who were ready to close because of peole’s loss of interest-back. I have watched each show I know what you will pay before you get it
    Of course some of the best episodes are the ones where people will not sell great things even though they call you. JUST KEEP PICKIN!!

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