Unique Theater

129 W. First Street,
Salida, CO 81201

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Unique Theatre - Salida, CO 4-28-13

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Unique Theater first opened as an opera house on New Years Day, 1890. The theater was converted to films sometime in the 1930’s. This theater is truly, as its name suggests, unique. I have never seen one quite like it. It is a caverous Art Deco style theater.

It is currently owned by John Groy, whose parents owned it before him. They obtained it when they traded their drive-in theater in Salida with the owner of the Unique Theater for the theater. The Groy Family also owns the Comanche Drive-In and Pearl Theater in Buena Vista, Colorado.

The theater operated Friday through Tuesday but was closed briefly as of August 2006 for some structural repairs. Sadly, it never reopened.

Contributed by Tony Hernandez

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on March 26, 2009 at 9:15 am

**Status should be changed to “Closed”

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on March 26, 2009 at 9:49 am

The booth at the Unique contained 2 Super Simplex projectors with Xetron xenon lamphouses. The projectors ran 6 thousand foot changeover. There was also a separate room off the booth used for building up prints in the nitrate days.

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on March 27, 2009 at 3:46 am

It was very large and so was the auditorium. According to the Film Daily Yearbook of 1942, it is listed as the Salida Theater (it’s name at the time) as having 600 seats. It still had around that many seats when it closed.

kpdennis on April 21, 2009 at 11:42 pm

A photo taken in April 2007 of the Unique…sorry to hear this local treasure is endangered!
View link

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on July 14, 2010 at 8:29 am

It appears that what little remains of the Unique is yet again in peril. The current owner seems to be having trouble coming up with the funds to complete the renovation and would sooner just bulldoze the entire thing than mess with it anymore and the city is demanding that the owner clean up what he started or else they will demolish it and repossess the land. You can read about it all at the Salida Mountain Mail (newspaper) website…simply search “Unique Theater”.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on November 11, 2010 at 2:56 pm


January 16, 1889 Opened as the SALIDA OPERA HOUSE.
1909 Renovated to accommodate motion pictures and renamed OSOS GRAND THEATER.
Late 1960’s renamed UNIQUE THEATER.
At one time it was named EMPRESS THEATER.
Last owned by John Groy.
August 7, 2006 Closed.



Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on November 11, 2010 at 7:28 pm

1930-1935 named EMPRESS THEATER.

Anyone have more info or more photos, especially of the interior.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 11, 2010 at 7:58 pm

The Opera House in Salida is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. G.W. McGovern was Mgr. It had 850 seats, was on the ground floor with tickets costing from 25 cents to $1. It had the “Edison system” of electric lighting. The proscenium opening was 25 feet wide X 15 feet high, and the stage was 36 feet deep. There were 2 newspapers and 3 hotels for show folk. The 1897 population of Salida was 3,500.

Thomas_Groy on June 4, 2016 at 3:32 am

My parents, Lewis R. and Mary A. Groy, owned the property and renamed it as the Unique Theater from 1965 through 1991, at which time my mother sold it to my half-brother, John. It has, unfortunately, since slowly degraded to the point where it has been destroyed due to negligence. So sorry to see a historical landmark fall victim to lack of concern.

Thomas L. Groy, Ph.D.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 4, 2016 at 6:32 am

An Architectural Inventory Form prepared for the Colorado Cultural Resource Survey in 1981 (PDF here) says that the Salida Opera House was dedicated on January 1, 1889.

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