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Elks Theatre History Assignment

Mike (saps)onApril 13, 2012 at 9:47 am

Link to article about this restoration of this theater’s lobby

Here is the text of the article, which also contains photos of the work-in-progress:

Remodel brings 100-year-old theater lobby back to its youth

In honor of the Elks Theatre’s 100th birthday this summer, owner Curt Small is undertaking a year-long project to remodel the theater’s lobby, restoring it in a way he hopes will reflect the importance of the venue to the city’s history.

“So many cities just let theirs go,” Small said of historic theaters. “There was a time those theaters were the jewel of downtown.”

Most of the first phase was finished last week, removing a 1970s-era drop ceiling from the middle of the lobby and restoring the curved 1929 “barrel” ceiling underneath.

“It will give our customers a good preview of what’s to come,” Small said.

The restoration will continue throughout the year with changes to the lobby’s ticket counter area, concessions sales counter and the stairways leading to the balcony.

Small started working at the theater in 1994 and bought it in 2008. He has been itching to make changes, but said his budget is a fraction of what was available for some of the other major remodeling projects seen in downtown Rapid City in the last few years.

Next door, the north half of the Elks Building saw a major, multi-million dollar gut remodel last year by its new owner, law firm Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore.

Small told his contractor, Remodel-King Construction, “It takes a lot of $4 tickets” to fund his project, Remodel-King owner Scott Sogge said.

Sogge, formerly a member of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, shares Small’s love of historic buildings and the theater in particular.

“If I want to see a movie, I wait and go to the Elks,” Sogge said, calling the theater “iconic.” The theater is known for showing second-run movies, independent films and classic films through its Sunday-evening Nostalgia Night Film Series.

“The experience is worth it to me,” Sogge said. “It’s the charm and the authenticity.”

Sogge said much of that charm was covered up over the years.

“It’s a sleeper,” Sogge said. “There’s a lot of beauty hidden behind that ceiling that we have now started to remove.”

The Rapid City Elks built their lodge from 1911 to 1912 at Sixth and Main streets, and included in it a large “opera house” for theatrical productions. But while the Elks fraternal organization stayed downtown until 1963, it sold the opera house portion of the building in 1920 to Art Rose, who sold it in 1925 to Black Hills Amusement Company, which brought the first “talkies” to Rapid City.

The theater changed hands again three times before Small bought it in 2008.

He is planning several events for the theater’s 100th birthday in June, including showing an original silent film along with the live piano music that once accompanied it.

Sogge said he’s glad the theater is in Small’s hands.

“He’s got a good passion and he’s there for a reason, and Rapid City’s got to hand it to him for having the perseverance to continue what he’s doing,” he said.

Contact Barbara Soderlin at 394-8417 or .


117 E Gurley St
Prescott, AZ86301
(928) 777-1370

This small little theater is such a Prescott gem! I recently went here to see a few AZ-based artists play on Saturday night. Overall, the acoustics were pretty decent for a smaller, older theater. Since it's a small venue, I had a seat in the second to last row on the balcony, and I could still see everything pretty close to the stage! So I can't say that you will get a bad seat. The only watch-out is if you sit up top, there are thin polls (maybe support beams) along the front of the balcony. Just make sure you don't get a seat right behind one of them! Theater is clean. It's not old, dingy and falling apart...rather it's nice and clean! Elk heads are a nice touch while not being overdone. Would definitely come back for future concerts or plays! TIP: make sure to get there early to get street parking on a Saturday night!

Tonight my husband and I were looking forward to hearing Tumbledown House, the key word "HEARING", we were seated in Q23 & Q25 which is right in front of the usher seating, this shouldn't be a problem but two of the women never stopped talking even when another person in Q19 asked if they would stop. My husband and I walked out during intermission in frustration. This is not acceptable and I will be asking for a refund.

Up until last night's Neil Diamond tribute performance at Prescott Elks Theater ("Diamond Rocks", Barrie Cunningham), we've had nothing but highest praise for performances. This artist is not up to Elk's Theater usual standards. His appearance and especially his voice didn't remotely imitate Neil Diamond's. The backup band was decent, but it had to slow tempo down for artist to keep up. Barrie's voice may have been viable in his younger years, but age isn't kind to any of us and this guy needs to get off the singing circuit. We left after 15 minutes of total disappointment. Elks Theater - we're not giving up on tribute bands, but please don't repeat this one.

The TAD Productions shows never fail to amaze us! Every tribute show has been spectacular and awesome in the authentic Prescott Elks Opera House!

great venue. Saw the pink Floyd band Empty Spaces and the show was amazing. Great sound and the people were friendly. Will definitely go back.

Great place to see a show. Small so all seats are good. Wonderful service by the people who show you to your seat or just assist. Parking was easy to find on the street.

A beautifully restored old theater. The ambience is wonderful and the staff is friendly and helpful. And snacks at the concession stand are reasonably priced. A great night out!

Excellent venue!! Review to follow!!!!! Led Zepagain and band rocked the house!!!!!! :)

Beautiful place!!! They have a great selection of shows. Now if I could just get a date to take me!! winky winky

The Elks Opera House just finished a $1MM+ renovation to restore the theatre to it's original "turn of the 20th century" splendor. Anyone visiting Prescott should check the Elks Opera House website to get tickets to various events happening at the Elks. It's a grand way to go back 100 years in time in this beautifully restored venue. The only reason I gave it 4 stars is because the lighting inside the theatre is unsatisfactory. They were trying to match the original lighting fixtures but the light quality is poor.

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