Vallis Theater
(Williams Theatre, Clawson Theatre)

Commercial Street
Morgan, Utah

(1917 - 1949)

In 1890 Daniel and George Heiner built the three-storey, brick hotel on Commercial Street.

Moroni and Harriet Clawson bought the Heiner Hotel in 1912.  On 8 May 1917, Mr. Clawson applied for a picture show license for a theater with a stage on the main floor of the hotel.

"Milton Fry ran the hand-operated movie projector, and at times the movies were somewhat jerky or erratic. Sydney Heiner, born in 1914, remembers attending silent movies with captions at the Vallis. When a reel needed to be changed on the projector, the lights came on, and a young woman played piano music until the projector was ready.

"Before long films containing sound replaced silent movies; however, with the theater located next to the railroad tracks, when a train went through Morgan, the movies were once again silent as patrons could hear only the sound of the train. Sometimes this would happen three or four times during a show."[1]

After Moroni Clawson died in 1935 the hotel was sold to Virgil Stewart.  Apparently the theater was remodeled and reopened on 4 September 1937 with the new name of "Vallis Theater".

"The new Vallis Theater opened Saturday with Metro Goldwyn Meyer picture, Born to Dance. For the comfort and convenience of its patrons, the Vallis has installed air conditioning, comfortable air inflated seats and an Intermountain research sound system. The theater will open every evening at seven. Milton Fry will be in charge of the operations. The furniture is of latest design. In every regard the entire building contains equipment and furnishings compared to those in the most up-to-date theater hotels and apartments in the West. It is beyond a doubt one of the best improvements made in Morgan. The winners of the contest to name the theater and hotel are Mable Welsh and Viola Porter Whitesides. They submitted the name "Vallis" which means Valley. They received a prize of $10.00 to be shared. Owners are Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Stewart."[2]
In June 1945, Alva and Cecil Dearden leased the Vallis Theater, hiring local residents to operate it.  The Vallis Theater closed on 12 August 1949 when the Deardens opened a modern movie theater in the Morgan Opera House.

In 1978 the Vallis Hotel was sold to William and Beverly Dahlquist and was converted into an apartment building.

The Vallis Hotel may later have been known as the Albert Williams building.  The Albert Williams building had served as a movie theater and was later connected to the south end of the Valley Implement building at 408 East 125 North Street.[3]  During John Deere Days, Valley Implement would show movies about the most current farm equipment in the Vallis Theater.[4]

1. "Chapter 6: Commercial Activities and Services", A History of Morgan County, by Linda H. Smith, Utah State History Suite CD-ROM
2.   A Morgan County Newspaper dated 9 September 1937
3. "Chapter 4: Political History", A History of Morgan County, by Linda H. Smith, Utah State History Suite CD-ROM
4. "Chapter 5: Development in a Pristine Valley", A History of Morgan County, by Linda H. Smith, Utah State History Suite CD-ROM