Crest Theater

35 W. Second Street,
Reno, NV 89501

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Originally opened as the Wigwam Theater around 1909, it was operated by the T & D Jr. Enterprises chain out of San Francisco, CA by 1941. Renamed the Nevada Theater during the 1940’s. It was located on Second Street between Sierra Street and Virginia Street. In 1948, it was remodeled and renamed Crest Theater. The theater has since been demolished.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

larrygoldsmith
larrygoldsmith on March 20, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Nevada Theatre was Skouras-ized with name change to CREST around 1950-51, if my sources are correct. I do believe info is correct, as the Skouras style was in line with the type of remodel done in the early 50’s. The jewel type box office told the whole story at time of remodel. Operated by Fox West Coast/National General Theatres for many years. Mann closed the Crest in early 70’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 20, 2009 at 5:56 pm

The Nevada Theatre was remodeled and renamed the Crest Theatre in 1948. The February 21, 1948, issue of Boxoffice Magazine had this to say:

“What used to be he Nevada Theatre here is being transformed into the swank new Crest under a $100,000 improvement program. Fox West Coast is turning it into a first run showcase.”
The article went on to say that the Nevada Theatre had been the Wigwam Theatre before another remodel a few years earlier. Fox West Coast owned the Nevada, but until a year before its transformation into the Crest it had been leased to T&D Jr. Enterprises.

My guess would be that the scan of the Nevada State Journal from which Ken got the 1943 opening date was a bit blurry, and was actually from 1948.

The July 18, 1942, issue of Boxoffice ran a line saying that the renovated Wigwam Theatre in Reno would reopen as the Nevada “next week.” This page should probably be renamed Crest Theatre, as that was apparently the final name, and the house was the Crest longer than it was the Nevada Theatre in any case.

larrygoldsmith
larrygoldsmith on March 21, 2009 at 4:38 am

Joe I think the name change/remodel must have took place in 1948 , as the Nevada Theatre ads seem to run thru the 40’s. As far into 1946, the theatre was still advertising under the Nevada Theatre.My info came from a long time Reno guy who thought the change occured in 1950-51. I know it was Skouras-ized, more like in 48 than 50. It operated as the Crest since that time, until it closed in the early/mid 70’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 21, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Yes, the Boxoffice article confirms 1948 as the year the Nevada became the Crest. It was apparently called the Nevada for less than six full years, as the 1942 article said it had been the Wigwam before that year’s remodeling. I can’t find any earlier references to the Wigwam, so I don’t know how old it was when it became the Nevada.

One 1948 Boxoffice issue included an architects rendering of the remodeled Crest, but didn’t give the architect’s name. It was most likely done in-house by Fox, which means the lead architect would almost certainly have been Carl G. Moeller, who handled most of Fox’s designs during the Skouras era. In the pictures it certainly looks like his work.

larrygoldsmith
larrygoldsmith on March 21, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Such a nice little theatre, as few seats as it had, compared to larger downtown Reno theatres,ie Majestic at 1st & Center and the Granada on 1st St. the Crest was always the “big hit” house. It most certainly was re-done by Carl G. Moeller. It definetly had his style of the typical Skouras Fox house of the time. The Skouras-ized theatre will always be my favorite.

One thing I wonder about is the original name of Wigwam because on the corner of 2nd & Sierra St. was a Wigwam Coffee Shop which at the time was a chain of restaurants in the Nevada area. I wonder if there was a connection between the two in regards to ownership.

Before my time, there was also a TOWER THEATRE in the south Virginia St. area, I am not sure exactly where that was. I do remember the MIDWAY DRIVE_IN where Peppermill Hotel Casino now sits, on So. Virginia St.

johnwpalmer
johnwpalmer on March 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I can only remember going to the TOWER THEATRE once — the summer of ‘56. And then it was gone. Seems to me it was near the Riverside Hotel on South Virginia, maybe a block North on the other side of the street. I think I remember it being a somewhat “lower class” theatre.

Thanks for reminding me of the MIDWAY DRIVE-IN — getting smuggled in with my cousin in the trunk, trying to stay awake for the dusk-to-dawn shows. Happy days.
Jock

larrygoldsmith
larrygoldsmith on March 27, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Correction to above location…..

The Tower Theatre was located on Virginia St. between Liberty St. and Pine St. The Pioneer Center is located at Virgnia St. and State St. A huge Wells Fargo Bank building sits where the Tower Theatre would have been. Sorry for the error.

asok10
asok10 on December 11, 2010 at 9:15 pm

First of all the Nevada Theater was not operating into the seventies. I first arrived in Reno in the fall of 1950 and the operating theaters were: Granada, Majestic, Tower, and the tiny Crest next to the Wigwam Coffee Shop. I had heard of the Victory Theater through a friend and if memory serves me correctly she said it was inside what was (in 1950) a small arcade of retail shops on North Virginia Street just north of East First Street. There were also two drive-ins, the Midway on South Virginia Street and the El Rancho in Sparks. She also told me that the Wigwam Theater was much bigger than the Crest but when remodeled some of the space was given to the Emporium Music Store behind it which resulted in a much smaller Crest Theater.

Les Taylor
Les Taylor on June 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I believe I went to the Crest theater to watch Earthquake in the winter 1974 and it was in Sensurround.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm

The November 23, 1994, issue of the Mineral County Independent-News, published at Hawthorne, Nevada, had a column prepared by the Nevada Historical Society which gave a brief biography of a Nevada pioneer named Henry Anderson. It says that “…he built the Wigwam Theatre Block on Second Street in downtown Reno in 1908-09….”

The Wigwam Theatre in Reno is mentioned in the February 13, 1910, issue of The San Francisco Call. At that time it was presenting live performances.

Here is a photo of the Wigwam Theatre which the University of Nevada dates to the period 1930-1948, but I think it’s more likely from 1924, the year the movie the stagecoach parked out front is promoting, The Iron Horse, was released.

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