Butler Theatre

100 S. Main Street,
Tonopah, NV 89049

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 11, 2016 at 4:56 pm

The January 13, 1923, issue of The Moving Picture World contained this brief item:

“J. E. Smith, of the Butler Theatre, Tonopah, Nev., was a business visitor in San Francisco just before Christmas.”
The theater had already been around for a long time by then. It was mentioned in the July 12, 1913, issue of the same publication. I’ve found references to the Butler having been in operation at least as early as 1908.

Tonopah boomed into existence with a rich silver strike in 1900, and rich gold deposits were found nearby in 1902. In its early years, Tonopah had three other theaters besides the Butler: the Nevada, the Pavilion, and the Indora, though the Butler (500 seats) and the Pavilion (750 seats) were the only theaters listed in the 1907-1908 edition of Henry’s Official Western Theatrical Guide.

The Butler was to survive the longest, operating into the age of CinemaScope, the wide screen having been installed in 1956, according to the announcement in the August 7 edition of the Reno Gazette-Journal that year.

The third thumbnail down the left side of this web page depicts the Butler Theatre in the 1930s (click to embiggen.)

The Butler Theatre is listed as a 1906 project in David and Noell’s list of known Boller Brothers theater designs. Also on the Boller list for Tonopah was the Nevada Theatre, dated only as “before 1913 (1903?)”

mikemorano on September 8, 2006 at 5:51 am

You should pay for the cleanup costs. haha

kencmcintyre on September 8, 2006 at 5:43 am

Well, it wasn’t a great picture anyway.

kencmcintyre on September 7, 2006 at 11:45 am

Here is the page since the link I posted yesterday is not working now:

kencmcintyre on September 6, 2006 at 6:07 pm

Seeing as there are no other theaters listed for Tonopah, I imagine that this 1940 photo shows the Butler. The caption puts the location on Main Street. It’s admittedly not a great picture:

kencmcintyre on February 12, 2006 at 3:00 pm

The Butler was demolished on September 4, 1969.