The Washoe Theater, located in Anaconda, Montana, was listed on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1982. Built in 1936 as one of the last Art Deco style theaters, this site is a prime example of popular theater style in the 1930s. The architect is so significant, in fact, the Smithsonian Institute has ranked it fifth in the nation for its architectural value. Architect B. Marcus Priteca was responsible for designing the theater. Although it was ready for opening in 1931, the theater remained closed until 1936 due to the Great Depression. Approximately $200,000 was spent building the theater. Perhaps the most impressive part of the theater is the interior, designed by Hollywood designer Nat Smythe. Sources say that every available flat surface is covered in an intricate mural. The first movie shown at the theater was the "The Texas Rangers". Although many changes have taken place throughout the years, the theater remains in operation today. The Washoe is one of the only theaters of its kind remaining in the United States today. Viewing a movie at this historic theater is a unique experience that allows visitors to take a step back in time.
Backstory and Context
The Art Deco style originated in France and swept the globe following World War I. The style symbolizes the technology boom and often utilizes rich colors. During the 1930s, Art Deco was a symbol of luxury and confidence in the social progress of the world. Art Deco style theaters built in small towns immediately became the center of the social scene.