Picture show salute

Herald Journal, 22 November 2003

Article Summary:

After the Lewiston Opera House was destroyed by fire in 1930, the town decided to build a new building on the site.  The building was to include city offices, a library, post office, a theater, a dance and recreation hall, and a city jail.

In 1934 Lewiston obtained funding for the building through the Public Works Administration, a program enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression.

Built at a cost of $56,000, the Lewiston Community Theatre opened a year later on Friday, 2 August 1935. The first movie was "The Gay Divorcee", starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  Admission was 10 cents for kids and 50 cents for adults.

Children used see free movies at the Lewiston Community Theatre as a reward for delivering the theater's calendar of upcoming events.

The theater didn't have a concession stand so moviegoers would stop at the drug store to buy candy and snacks to bring to the show.

The Lewiston Community Theatre  used to show Spanish language films on Sundays for Mexican laborers who harvested sugar beets. After the movies they would dance in the rec hall.

Community groups used the stage to put on plays, and performers would sign their names on the wall behind the movie screen.

Today the Lewiston Community Theatre is open only three days a week.  Theater still draws a good size crowd, especially on Mondays which are family night - admission is $10 for the entire family.  Popcorn is only 50 cents and nothing at the concession stand costs more than 75 cents.