(Moab Art Theatre)
159 East Center Street
Moab, Utah 84532
Star Hall was built by the Moab Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and opened in May 1906. The amusement hall was used for recreational and social functions, including dances, plays, and other cultural activities. An elderly Moab resident recalled, "They used to serve dinners there . . . There were long tables the length of the room, and after they got the meal out of the way and cleared, they'd dance most of the night." Before 1972, the hall was also used as an opera house and motion picture theater.
There was no architect among the craftsmen who worked on the building, but a blueprint was provided by carpenter Will Shafer. The property was purchased for $1000 in 1884 by Randolph Stewart and Orlando Warner, a bishop and a counselor for the LDS ward. Stone for the building was hauled from Goose Island quarry.
Star Hall is termed "Richardson Romanesque" in style "because it's rough-hewn, well laid pinkish stones and round-topped windows approximate the style of the much more elaborate structures designed at the turn of the century by Henry Hobson Richardson in Boston and Cambridge."
In 1925 the Grand County School District purchased Star Hall, making repairs and modifications suggested by Salt Lake architect Walter E. War. The school district used the building as a gymnasium, industrial arts shop, auditorium, and a storehouse for useless materials.
In 1968, a major rennovation of the building was planned and supervised by the architectural firm of Richardson & Richardson. The main floor was "tilted" or sloped to give a better view of a new stage. Upholstered seats were installed, 236 on the main floor and 56 in the balcony. The hall also equipped with refrigerated air conditioning and a new lighting and sound system. Star Hall was then used for plays, concerts and major school functions, such as graduation ceremonies.
In June 1972 Star Hall became the home of the Moab Art Theatre, a community theater and training center in the dramatic arts. The theater was to produce eight plays from mid-June through September and hoped to draw on the tourist industry in the area. Training of local residents was to be completed by September, at which time the operation of Star Hall was to be turned over to the community.
Star Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places sometime after 1993. Ownership of the building was later transferred to Grand County. Under the direction of Grand County and the Star Hall Committee, the building has undergone more renovations, including replacement of the roof and windows, repainting the interior, and the addition of rain gutters to protect the foundation.
1. "Chapter 9: Grand County Enters the Twentieth Century", A History of Grand County, by Richard A. Firmage, Utah History Suite CD-ROM
2. Interview with Lydia Ann Taylor Skews, Utah State Historical Society
3. "Theater of nature provides inspiration backdrop for new Moab Art Theatre", Salt Lake Tribune, 14 May 1972, page E1
4. "A Journey Back to Moab's Early Boom Days", Salt Lake Tribune, 28 March 1993
5. "Star Hall History", www.grandcountyutah.net/starhall/history.htm