Construction of the Prairie Playhouse in Canton, Kan., concluded on August 2, 1966, on the two-year anniversary of the attack on the destroyer USS Maddox that helped bring America into the Vietnam War.
This completion date was no accident. Founder Dale Ray built the theater to house anti-war demonstrations and productions.
In its early days the theater thrived and gave local protesters a place to speak out against the war without fear of being taken away by the police.
Once the war ended and the troops came home, the theater's success dropped off a bit. By late 1974, no productions were showing and the seats sat empty.
Ray mysteriously disappeared from town under a cloud of suspicion, and the theater seemed to have died.
However, in October 1981 local high school English teacher Anne Allen wanted to produce a stage adaptation of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to celebrate Halloween.
Allen talked to city officials and got the theater reopened. With the help of schoolmaster Ichabod Crane, Allen kick-started the performing arts movement in Canton.
Since 1981, the Prairie Playhouse has been the venue for at least seven productions every year.
Though it has changed ownership several times since then, it is currently owned by Unified School District 419, which allows schools and outside producers to showcase their work.