Today’s Art Deco theater was designed and built at the foot of Walnut Street as a town hall in 1929. Elwood Coleman planned its use for meetings and community gatherings. The building was the site of graduations and card parties before motion picture equipment was installed in 1935.
The first movie, Steamboat Round the Bend, starring Will Rogers, was shown here in December 1935. A 1944 fire in the projection booth damaged the movie house’s interior, but the building reopened later that year after extensive renovations. Those renovations gave the theater its current Art Deco look thanks to New York designers hired to revamp the interior. The exterior of the building has not been structurally altered.
The theater operated as a movie house until the 1970s when declining ticket sales led the business to close its doors. The town auctioned the building in 1983 and a non-profit group of local residents bought the theater to save it from demolition. With private and government funds the building has remained a performing arts center, producing and presenting community theater, performing arts workshops and musical performances. For show information call (410) 556-6003.