Mesa Theater

538 Main Street,
Grand Junction, CO 81501

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 6, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Westland was planning a new theater at Grand Junction in 1948. The Chief was supposed to be a replacement for the Mesa, according to the Boxoffice reports. Then in 1953 the new Mesa was also reported by Boxoffice to be a replacement for the old Mesa.

It’s probably significant that I haven’t found any later Boxoffice references to a hardtop theater called the Chief, but Westland opened a drive-in called the Chief in 1952. It seems unlikely that they’d have both a hardtop and a drive-in of the same name in the same town. Unless something happened to it within a couple of years of construction, and Boxoffice failed to report it, the 1948 Chief project probably fell through, which means the Mesa probably continued to operate until being rebuilt in 1953. The conversion to a store building was probably only intended rather than accomplished at the time of the Boxoffice report, and the writer of the item must have garbled the information.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 5, 2009 at 8:52 pm

There were apparently two Mesa Theatres at Grand Junction, but there is muddled information about them in Boxoffice Magazine. The January 3, 1948, issue of Boxoffice published a drawing of Westland Theatres' new Chief Theatre, then under construction, and the caption said it was a replacement for the Mesa Theatre, “…which was converted into a store building.” However, the August 21 issue of Boxoffice the same year has an item dateline Grand Junction which says “B.V. Warren, manager of the Mesa Theatre here, was on a three-week vacation….” I’m not sure what to make of that. Maybe it was meant to say “former manager.”

Then there is a report of a Mesa Theatre being built in 1953. The February 21 issue of Boxoffice said that Westland Theatres would build a $150,000 theater to replace the Mesa. A drawing of the new Mesa appeared on the cover of the March 7 issue of Boxoffice. The design was by Boller & Lusk. The caption says that the theatre was being “rebuilt,” suggesting that it might not have been an entirely new building. The drawing does match the photos linked above, though.

Whether the original Mesa was converted to a store in 1948, or continued to operate until it was replaced or rebuilt, the current Mesa must be the house designed by Boller & Lusk in 1953.