423 W. Main Street,
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Originally known as West’s Theater, for its owner Ed West, a Trinidad, Colorado businessman, this theater was designed by local Trinidad architects I.H. & W.M. Rapp (brothers to C.W. and George Rapp) along with a member of the firm, A.C. Hendrickson, construction began on February 17, 1907. On March 16, 2008, it marked 100 years since it opened. Excepting for brief periods for renovation through the years, it has the distinction of being Colorado’s oldest and largest extant theatre that has never closed.
The theatre’s foundation extends more than 40 feet below West Main Street. Total height of the stage wall is more than 115 feet. Two million bricks were used in the building’s construction, along with twelve carloads of Portland cement.
The general design throughout is in a Renaissance style, the interior being treated in a restrained Rococo Style of French Renaissance. The main entrance to the theater proper is through a lobby sixteen feet wide and forty feet deep. The auditorium is sixty-three feet wide and the same in height. The proscenium arch is thirty-four feet wide and the same in height. The arch is eliptical in form and blends back to the front of the boxes where it meets the pendentive, filling the angle between the boxes and sides of the auditorium. There are two balconies, the upper most one is referred to as the gallery. Before seating was changed, and the gallery was closed, the auditorium could accomodate 1,150 people. Acoustics were said to be supurb. Storefronts were located on either side of the main entrance to the theatre; one originally housed a bar/restaurant and the other storefront housed a drugstore.
The theatre opened on March 16, 1908, with the stage play “The Bondman”. For many years the theatre was the venue for stage performances, vaudeville, opera and silent movies. A ballroom was located in the basement which had its formal opening on May 20, 1908, and the first silent movie, a Cameraphone affair, was shown on November 3, 1908.
Ed West passed away on October 30, 1911, and his son Harry sold the theatre to the Kohn and Fairchild Amusement Co. on June 2, 1920. ‘Talkies’ made their debut on April 30, 1929, and in August 1929, Fox West Coast Theatre Company purchased the building. In October 1929, the theatre became known as the West-Fox Theatre. During March & April 1935, a marquee was added above the entrance to the theatre.
After October, 1942, ‘West’ was formally dropped for the theatre’s name, and it was known from then on as the Fox Theatre. On February 17, 1959, the theatre was sold to John, Marie and Salma Sawaya, a son and two daughters of a prominent Trinidad Lebanese family.
Mike Hadad, a nephew of the Sawaya’s, has been manager of the theatre for several years. As of mid-2011, it remained open screening a feature film seven evenings a week and an occasional matinee on Sundays. It was ‘temporary’ closed in the Summer of 2013.
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