The Cascade Theatre was constructed in 1935 as a movie palace and vaudeville stage. It was a magnificent example of Art Deco architecture, complete with gold- and silver-gilded walls, period chandeliers, ornate plasterwork, a grand neon facade and marquee, and beautiful murals. But like many downtown theatres of its era, it struggled to survive during the 1990s with the rise of large Cineplex's. In 1997 the Cascade ceased operating and its doors were boarded up. Restoration of the Cascade was fully completed in August of 2004, and it was reopened as a regional nonprofit performing ar..
What first began as a gift from Leah McConnell to the City of Redding to enhance the city's fireworks show has become an annual Foundation tradition of funding Redding's 4th of July Freedom Festival Fireworks. Leah McConnell, though she was a frugal and private person, loved fireworks and delighted in funding this spectacular regional show. Ninety thousand dollars up in smoke in just 22 minutes may not appear to be the best investment, but as Leah always used to say, "at least you can see where your money is going." The annual fireworks display has become an event anticipated and appreciated b..
In May of 2005, The McConnell Arboretum and Gardens opened, the newest addition to Turtle Bay Exploration Park. The new gardens comprise 20 acres of Mediterranean climate display gardens, a children's garden, a medicinal garden, and two beautiful and unique water features. The new gardens are a showcase within the 200-acre Arboretum, which links to the Sacramento River Trail. The Arboretum is accessible by a system of footpaths and bike paths just north of the Gardens and the Sundial Bridge...
The story of the Sundial Bridge began with a citizens' committee given the charge of selecting an engineer to design a bridge to span the north and south sides of the Sacramento River, linking the Turtle Bay campus with the Arboretum site. The committee, on which McConnell Foundation Vice President John Mancasola served, interviewed four bridge designers, but ended without consensus. Impressed with the designs he saw in a book of Santiago Calatrava's work, John phoned the architect's office in Zurich, Switzerland. To his surprise, Calatrava himself answered the phone. This phone call resulted ..
Turtle Bay Exploration Park is a diverse 300-acre cultural complex and environmental education center. Its indoor and outdoor spaces contain entertaining and inspiring educational exhibits and activities that interpret the human-nature connection with specific reference to the cultural, historical and natural resources of the Sacramento River region. Straddling the beautiful Sacramento River as it meanders through Redding, the Park is crowned by the Sundial Bridge, the capstone of the experience that the park strives for in all its programming. Turtle Bay is the visionary result of efforts tha..