ALTON – Extra vigilance is sought for the Lucy Haskell Playhouse.

The vandals repeatedly installed custom outdoor lighting around the Victorian-style structure, according to Margaret Hopkins, co-chair of the Lucy Haskell Playhouse Association with Chris Alford.

“The last incident was a few weeks ago,” she said. “When I left my house to walk my dog, I could see a light shining in my eyes. The concrete and everything was ripped out.”

Kyle Batson of Blue River Lighting in Wood River installed security lighting at the cabin. He also repaired the lighting after the last incident, as well as all previous incidents, the one that involved a fixture hit by an object that dislodged the bulb from its fixture.


“Now the board is faced with a camera system and/or a wrought iron fence to surround the performance hall,” Hopkins said. “We don’t want to keep people out. So if people see something wrong, if they call the police or somehow help us pay for those extra security measures , we would appreciate anyone to be another set of eyes for us.

“I don’t mean vandals are trying to steal the facilities,” she said. “But they pulled them out of the ground and pulled the wiring out of the ground. It happened a couple of times. After two times we called Kyle, who said he could encase in concrete, and I’ll be damned, somebody ‘one came and shot all the light and concrete out of the ground.’

Hopkins said the nine-person council will soon be planting flowers, and during the summer people will be on site to water the plants. But she said the council couldn’t be at the playhouse all the time.

Hopkins said people can donate to a municipal fund to help with safety. For more details, visit www.haskellplayhouse.org and select “Donate”. Checks are also accepted.

“We use these funds strictly for the maintenance and restoration of this performance hall,” she said. “We have a committee that oversees this and meets and reviews invoices. It’s an open meeting that the public can attend. These expenses are paid directly from this trust fund and are tax deductible.”

In 2014, the Playhouse Association hosted a crowdfunding event hosted by Alton native Ryan Hanlon of Route 3 Films in St. Louis that raised $50,000 in 50 days to help the structure. The group had the lead paint removed and the playhouse caulked, primed, painted and pointed. Some carpentry work was also done.

In 2016, the board spent $10,000 on the gambling house for a new slate roof and redid all of its copper work. A few years ago the board painted the inside of the gambling house, a security alarm was installed and they contracted lighting with Blue River Lighting of Batson.

“He was so excited. He had never lit a structure like the Lucy Haskell Playhouse,” Hopkins said. “We wanted something to light up the performance hall in the quiet of the night, to be a thing of beauty. It’s beautiful in daylight, but breathtaking at night lit by landscape lighting.”

The performance hall is open from 10 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of each month. Lucy Haskell’s annual birthday party is scheduled for July 29 this year. This year, the performance hall will also host its 25th Christmas event.