of the Needles Historic Theatre, Burton Frasher, 1941
The building was built in 1929 by the Masonic Order
at an estimated cost of $120,000. The order occupied the second floor
and leased the theatre space on the main level. Two shops were
initially housed on the first level, as well, including a real estate
business and a Sweet Shoppe. The theatre, which seated 700 people,
opened on March 1, 1930. The theatre, very modern for the times,
included a water based heating and cooling system, a good sized cinema
screen, a full stage, and orchestra pit.
During its early years, numerous performance troupes
appeared on the stage and the theatre showed four movies a week. Adult
movie tickets ranged from 35 to 50 cents and a child's admission price was
15 cents. In later years, the theatre also held community events such as
the Miss Needles contest, recitals, and local musicians..
For 63 years, the theatre entertained the generations
until 1992, when the buiding's roof caught fire. It then sat empty until
November, 1997 when the Masonic Order donated it to the City of Needles.
The Area Chamber of Commerce planned a $4 million renovation effort and
though initial cleanup and restoration began in 2002, the costs were
so high and funding so limited, that the Chamber sold the building in
Though privately owned today, the restoration efforts
are still suffering from funding needs. Supported by the
Friends of the Needles Theatre, a non-profit organization, progress
has been made, but there is much more to be done before the theatre can be
returned to its former glory. The group works towards raising funds and
obtaining grants to preserve the historic theatre. Donations are greatly
appreciated. For Information, see the Friends
of the Needles Theatre. The theatre is located at 823 Broadway.
of America, updated June, 2017.