Thursday, July 30, 2009

Movie palaces ...

I'm a huge fan of old movie theaters ... the new multiplexes just can't compare, and watching a DVD at home is really no fun at all. But there aren't all that many left, especially ones that still show movies.

As far as the big movie palaces go ... well, you can still see a film at the Wilma in Missoula, but the Ellen in Bozeman and the Fox in Billings have been turned into performing arts venues, which in a way is a little sad. You'll have better luck in some of Montana's smaller communities -- there's the Judith up in Lewistown, and the wonderful Roxy out in Forsyth. And there are lots of old theatre buildings that are now closed, but continue to be very evocative places. One of my favorites in that category is the Yucca, in the little town of Hysham.

Without a doubt, though, the most amazing movie theatre in Montana is the Washoe, in downtown Anaconda. Opened in 1936, the Washoe is a 1,000-seat Art Deco masterpiece ... and the best part is that it still shows movies, just as its builders intended. This is a shot of the Washoe's magnificent auditorium, photographed by Jet Lowe in 1979 for the Historic American Buildings Survey:


  1. Oh, me too! And it's been years since I've seen a movie there ... I really need to put that on my summer to-do list.

  2. Yeah, Anaconda was the first thing that sprung to mind when I first started reading this. When the ex was waiting in the Anaconda prison, I drove by there quite a few times.

  3. Heh ... Tim, you need to see a movie there sometime! The outside is absolutely nothing compared to how the inside looks.