Advertisement for the Liberty Theater, with changes in program every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. - , Utah
23 November 1911
Liberty Theatre
(Rex Theatre, Princess Theatre)

60 North 100 West
Price, Utah 84501

(1911 - 1913)

George N. Short, a traveling man, built a two story building on North Ninth Street in 1911 with a store, a theater, and a hotel.[1].  

Anderson and White opened the Rex Theatre on Saturday, 4 November 1911, playing to “several full houses during the evening.”  The mission style theater featured opera chairs with sloped seating and frequent changes of program.  The Rex opened with a seating capacity of 200, which was to be “increased as the patronage of the place warrants.”  The film machine and operator were enclosed in a sheet iron box or cage to guarantee safety against an explosion or the breaking of a film.  The Eastern Utah Advocate described the Rex Theatre as “unquestioningly the prettiest and most modern house of its kind between Salt Lake City and Grand Junction.  …  The place would be a credit to a city much larger than Price, and is deserving of the patronage of the amusement loving public.”[2][3]

Less than two weeks later, Anderson & White, “proprietors of the Liberty theater,” purchased the Isis Theatre, including all its furniture and fixtures, from Sturtevant & Robinson.  The Liberty continued business in the Short building, but with a greater seating capacity and the film service previously contracted to the Isis.[4][5]

After being taxed to capacity since its opening, the Liberty Theatre “greatly enlarged” its seating capacity in February 1912 by moving the screen “back as far as the rear wall.”  James White and family, who had been living in the back part of the Liberty, moved to a recently vacated house.[6]

The Liberty Theatre gave its last performance on 22 November 1912, with its opera chairs and moving picture paraphernalia moving to manager E. A. Anderson’s new theater, the Eko.[7]

B. B. Wallick opened the Princess Theatre in the Short Building on 3 May 1913, with “an excellent program and special music.”[8]  More than four hundred attended the opening performance, enjoying “one of the finest moving picture entertainments that has ever been given in Price.”[9]  The event was so well attended that many had to stand and four showings were given before everyone was satisfied.  Levi N. Harmon, Jr. officiated at the piano.[10]

Edward C. and Guy F. Durkee of Provo purchased the Princess Theater in June 1913, spending “considerable money improving the place,”  including installation of a reactifier to reduce eye strain by steadying the light for pictures.  The Carbon County News reported the brothers were playing “high class trust pictures” and showed “signs of having come to stay.”[11]

The Durkee brothers closed the Princess Theater for the summer on 7 July 1913 “convinced two shows will not pay during the heated term.  It is probable they will reopen in the fall.”[12]  

When the Princess opened and the Eko continued doing “as good a business as ever,” the Carbon County News wrote, “It remains to be seen, however, whether Price and vicinity can support two shows.”[10]

It appears the Princess never reopened.  

In 1915, Guthell and Broeker purchased the Short Building and added an archway to connect it to their existing garage.  The ground floor was used for sales and automobile display, while the second floor became apartments for the families of the two partners.[13]

1. "Buying Price Property", Carbon County News, 12 June 1913, page 2
2. "[Tomorrow new Rex theater opens on North Ninth street]", Eastern Utah Advocate, 2 November 1911, page 1
3. "Price Locals", Carbon County News, 10 November 1911, page 3
4. "Anderson & White Buy the Isis Theater", Eastern Utah Advocate, 16 November 1911, page 1
5. "Price Locals", Carbon County News, 17 November 1911, page 3
6. "Brief News", Carbon County News, 2 February 1912, page 4
7. "Price and Vicinity", Eastern Utah Advocate, 28 November 1912, page 5
8. "City and County", Carbon County News, 8 May 1913, page 10
9. "Neighborhood and City News Briefly Related", Eastern Utah Advocate, 15 May 1913, page 5
10. "The Princess Opened", Carbon County News, 15 May 1913, page 6
11. "Bought the Princess", Carbon County News, 5 June 1913, page 6
12. "Local News Briefs", Carbon County News, 10 July 1913, page 11
13. "Price and Nearby", Sun, 6 August 1915, page 5