By Frances Ruth Harris
On May 18, 2017, then-state Senator William Larkin presented a $150,000 check to build an outdoor amphitheater in the Village of Chester.
Named the Jarvis R. Boone Memorial Amphitheater at Larkin's Green, it's now going up in the Village of Chester, near village hall.
Jerry Kirkland is the foreman for the project, just as he is for the pavilion at Carpenter Field.
Tom Becker, a candidate for a seat on the Chester Town Board, volunteered to help raise the amphitheater.
Larkin said he wanted Chester to have a music venue that would enrich the lives of young people and future generations.
"This is something that our young kids, when they get as young as (Mayor Tom Bell) and I, they’ll be able to say, ‘I had a great life growing up,'" said Larkin when presenting the check in 2017. "This is community and this community is a team. There’s no 'I' in team. Everybody here has been interested in this and they’re going to come out here, they’re going to build this, they’re going to use it, and as they get older, they’ll remind their children of how this became a part of Chester.”
The project is part of the village’s comprehensive plan for community and economic development.
Jarvis R. Boone, a woodcarver whose son, Clay, carries on the family business, was an important figure in making Sugar Loaf the arts and crafts hamlet it is today.
He once owned Bodles Opera House (now the Rustic Wheelhouse Restaurant).
In describing Jarvis Boone, The New York Times in 1973 called him Sugar Loaf's "chief character," "a rosy-natured, Arkansas-born, duck-hunting woodcarver" and descendant of Daniel Boone. His shingle offered "hunting and shooting specialities, boat carving, caricature carvings, presentation plaques, religious figurines, and trade and tavern signs."
He'd love the idea of all the woodworking going on at Larkin's Green in his name.