El Onate Theatre

Palace and Lincoln Avenues,
Santa Fe, NM 87501

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The El Onate Theatre opened in 1921, built on the site of the mid-19th century Capital Hotel on the corner of Palace and Lincoln Avenues. The little theater, one of the earliest built for showing movies in Santa Fe, was designed in Spanish Pueblo style. The building also included an auto dealership and retail store.

The El Onate was very short-lived, closing in 1924, and replaced by more retail space. The building still exists today, though heavily remodeled, and currently houses a bank.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 4, 2005 at 9:17 pm

I found this theater mentioned on a New Mexico website. It reads as follows:

“In Santa Fe, the Spanish Pueblo Revival frenzy partly symbolized by the Palace of Fine Arts (1917), La Fonda Hotel, and the Federal Building (now the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum), neatly coincided with the rise of the film industry. Thus, Santa Fe built the first "Pueblo” movie theatre, El Oñate, in the early 1920s. Located across the street from the Palace of Fine Arts on the northwest corner of the Plaza, El Oñate’s facade mimicked the twin church bell towers first introduced to Santa Fe’s Plaza by the Palace of Fine Arts a few years earlier. El Oñate, along with the Paris Theatre, popularized silent movie festivals in the capital during the 1920s, but its star was soon eclipsed by the brilliance of the Lensic Theatre in 1931".

kencmcintyre on December 7, 2006 at 9:14 pm

I have an ad for the El Rio Theater in Santa Fe, circa 1952. Any recollection of this by NM locals? More info would be helpful.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 7, 2006 at 9:53 pm

This website has a 1921 photo of the El Onate Theater. Its a little slow loading at times.

williame303 on November 8, 2007 at 5:47 am

I believe that the first time I visited Santa Fe, ca. 1975, this building was the J.C. Penney’s. There was a Woolworth’s down the street and a Sears a block away. Santa Fe has changed!

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