Keeping the neon lit on Main Streets of the Great Plains
An article in the July 5, 2010 print edition of The New York Times (“Old Movie Houses Find Audience in the Plains”) describes local efforts to sustain historic Main Street storefront cinemas as focal points for their rural communities in the Great Plains region.
In an age of streaming videos and DVDs, the small town Main Street movie theater is thriving in North Dakota, the result of a grass-roots movement to keep storefront movie houses, with their jewel-like marquees and facades of careworn utility, at the center of community life.
Perhaps it’s a sign of a broader trend as well.
The revival is not confined to North Dakota; Main Street movie houses like the [Alamo](/theaters/909/) in Bucksport, Me., the [Luna](/theaters/8801/) in Clayton, N.M., and the [Strand](/theaters/12682/) in Old Forge, N.Y., are flourishing as well. But in the Great Plains, where stop signs can be 50 miles apart and the nearest multiplex is 200 miles round trip, the town theater -- one screen, one show a night, weekends only -- is an anchoring force, especially for families.