Needles Theatre

823 Broadway,
Needles, CA 92363

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Needles Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Needles Theatre opened in 1929 as a Masonic Temple and was later converted into a movie house. The theatre operated continuously until it was badly damaged by fire in the early 1990’s. It has been closed ever since.

The Needles Area Chamber of Commerce, which purchased the building from the Masons in November 1997, commenced a $4 million renovation and restoration effort in 2002.

The first project was to repaint and refinish the theatre’s facade.

The NACC is currently looking for any historical records, documents, photographs, etc. which could help in their bid to place the theater on the National Registry of Historic Places.

If you have any information on the theatre or if you would like to donate money or your time, please contact Sue Godnick, the Executive Director of the NACC at (760) 326-2050.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 17, 2006 at 2:02 pm

Here is a photo I took in July 2006:
http://tinyurl.com/y4wssb

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 17, 2006 at 2:27 pm

It looked empty when I went by several months ago. I don’t think it’s being used for anything.

Bway
Bway on November 17, 2006 at 8:54 pm

Yes, it does sort of look like a temple or mosque or something doesn’t it!

cm1951
cm1951 on July 27, 2007 at 6:34 pm

The banner headline on the front page of the Needles Nugget newspaper dated Friday, February 15, 1929 read, “New $60,000 Theatre Bldg.” The accompanying article related that the new building, at the corner of F Street and Broadway will house a Theatre with the most modern “talkie” equipment of the age. The plans also include a pipe organ, the “latest” stage equipment, and the “smartest” of furnishing. The Masonic Temple occupied the 2nd floor.

In early March of 1929, the Masons led a five-day stock campaign that closed with $72,550 in signed applications, a truly amazing feat for the time period, and for a town the size of Needles.

The final building contracts were signed in late July of 1929, and the Theatre opened for business on March 1, 1930. Total cost of the building was estimated to be $120,000.

Mr. C.A. Simons, the proprietor of the Liberty Theatre, was given a long-term lease of the 1st floor. Mr. Simons also sub-let the two downstairs shops. The shop on the east side of the Theatre housed Simons Real Estate and the west side housed The Sweet Shoppe.

The history of the Theatre is being developed and cataloged on an ongoing basis. We know that the building had a water based heating and cooling system that was very modern for the day. Not only did the Theatre have a nice sized cinema screen, but it also included a full stage with orchestra pit. We know that in the early years that several performance troupes of the day appeared at our Theatre. The Theatre showed 4 single movies a week, and they were all first run. Occasionally a short film or cartoon would be included. The cost of a child’s admission was 15 cents, with adult tickets ranging from 35 to 50 cents. The Miss Needles contest was held at the Theatre in later years, and community-based music and dance recitals were held there. The Fort Mohave Indian Band performed on a regular basis on the weekends on a bandstand located in the street outside of the Theatre. One long time resident recounted the story that when Gone With the Wind showed at the Theatre, the line to buy admission “went way up around the block!”

At some point in time, the stage was extended out over the orchestra pit, and then a false wall was built to hold a much larger cinema screen, and at least 1/3 of the seating capacity was reduced.

The Theatre closed its doors sometime in the early to mid 1980’s. Heavily damaged by fire in the 1990’s, the building was donated to the Needles Chamber of Commerce by the Masons. The fire insurance policy held by the Masons secured a replacement roof, and the Chamber took steps to exclude the roosting areas set up by multiple pigeons.

Rodney and Kirsten Mouton purchased the property from the City of Needles and escrow closed on 2-20-06.

At the present time, debris is being hauled away, and a general clean up of the inside of the building is taking place. The extension built out from the stage has been removed and the old orchestra pit has been uncovered. The room has been returned to its original full dimensions. The original stage and surrounding artwork is intact but it has suffered smoke damage. The overall integrity of the structure is good as it is constructed of concrete and steel. The construction was quite a marvel in 1929.

The outside of the building has been repainted and the original ironwork reinstalled. All of the original window casings are intact.

Fund raising events are being held by the Friends of the Needles Theatre and it is anticipated that the marquee and the neon theatre sign will be restored in the near future.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 1, 2007 at 1:43 am

It doesn’t appear to have changed much in 65 years, at least from the outside.

cahammoaz
cahammoaz on September 9, 2008 at 7:27 pm

does anyone know where the blue prints are held?

contact me

Chris Hammontree

928-565-1659

m-f 10am-1pm Arizona time

Thank You
Chris

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on April 1, 2009 at 2:22 am

Hi Lost Memory… I visited once in 1967 enroute to Miami from San Francisco… can’t remember what I saw.
It’s always good to see any theater photo but it’s a shame there’s a car blocking the view and other distracting “stuff” in the picture.
Personally, I like to “crop” my picture view finder by ONLY having the actual subject in the frame and nothing else; like other buildings or people walking by!

Bway
Bway on May 4, 2009 at 5:47 pm

What’s the current status of this building?

drb
drb on July 20, 2010 at 7:17 am

Here’s an old postcard
View link

richardg
richardg on September 22, 2010 at 4:16 am

The Needles Theatre housed a Masonic Temple in the front upper portion of the building while the theatre occupied the lower portion. Since the temple portion didn’t use the full length of the building, the theatre occupied the full height in a large portion of the building. I was informed many years ago the screen was moved forward (perhaps do to the installation of a new and larger screen?)
so that many seating rows and the original stage are actually behind the screen. Sadly, I was informed that nothing much is going at the Needles and that it is again for sale. A fire many years ago forced its closure and it never re-opened

b

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