126 E. Pikes Peak Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Cooper Foundation
Architects: Robert O. Boller
Styles: Pueblo Deco
Previous Names: Rialto Theatre, Chipita Theatre
Originally opened in 1911 as the Rialto Theatre, it was later renamed Chipita Theatre. It was remodelled/rebuilt in 1935 to the plans of architect Robert O. Boller of architectural firm Boller Brothers and renamed Ute Theatre.
The Pueblo Deco style former Ute Theatre was a fixture of downtown Colorado Springs for decades, with its distinctive Native American-inspired blade marquee overlooking Pike’s Peak Avenue. Just down the street was the Chief Theatre, which has since been razed.
The Ute Theatre was dismantled and rebuilt after it closed in 1968 and moved to a new location nearby where it was rebuilt as a steakhouse, which it still serves as today.
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Recent comments (view all 24 comments)
The above picture is for the UTE 70 Theatre, not the above UTE theatre.
When the Ute was razed, Russ Wolfe, owner of the Flying W Ranch northwest of Colorado Springs, was able to purchase a number of the theater’s architectural elements, which he installed in the Ranch’s Winter Steakhouse. Among these were the chandeliers that were installed on the ceiling of the theater. Sadly on June 26, 2012, the Flying W Ranch burned to the ground in the destructive Waldo Canyon wildfire and these treasures were lost forever.
A little bit more on Byran Krefft’s main story under the picture. When the Ute was forced to close because of a high rise taking its place, it moved across the street on N. Nevada Ave. and was renamed Ute 70 because it was cable of that technology. The Ute 70 closed when the twin, triplex and mega-plex giants started to be built. The building is still standing and is the only structure left in Colorado Springs that once belonged to the Cooper Foundation chain. A church used it for a while and a indoor “rock climbing” facility called CITY ROCK now has a lease and is packing the kids in. When the economy gets back to normal, the building is slated for demolition so more high rise complexes can be built. Tom Daniels
Hello everyone! I am looking for information and photos from the Ute Theater (most of the older photo links here appear to NOT be working) I am particularly interested in the ‘chandeliers’… History, artist, information. I have one of them that was in my house in Black Forest, Colorado. From what I can determine, Russ bought all but one of them, and that missing one is the one I have (perhaps from auction?) If anyone has any information, that would be outstanding. Thanks!
Seated 1,200 according to the Film Daily Yearbook of 1942
This photo of Pikes Peak Avenue shows that, around 1921, there was a theater called the Princess on the site that was later occupied by the Rialto and the Ute. I don’t know if the Princess was renamed Rialto or if it was demolished to make way for a new theater. It looks like it occupied exactly the same footprint and was the same height as the Rialto/Ute. The Princess Theatre was in operation at least as early as 1918.
Joe, the Ute goes back to the 1920’s when it was known as the Rialto Theatre, it may have been the Princess prior to Rialto. It was also known as the Chipita Theatre after the Rialto and before the Ute. I believe that after Robert O. Boller’s remodel in 1935 for the J.B. Cooper enterprises is when it was renamed the Ute Yheatre.
David and Noelle Soren’s piece about the Ute Theatre on their “Favorite Boller Theatres” page says that the Rialto, which dated to 1911, was razed for the construction of the Ute, which opened on June 12, 1935. Noelle’s research is usually pretty thorough. But I suppose it’s possible that the side walls of the Rialto were left standing. It’s costly to take down side walls in the middle of a block of old buildings as it can damage adjacent structures if it isn’t done carefully.
1961 photo added courtesy of The Denver Eye Facebook page.
Same Rialto? Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, Aug. 11, 1968: “The Rialto theater, closed for nearly a year, opened for business Friday under the management of Mitchell Kelloff, owner of the Uptown theatre in Pueblo and the Valley theatre in Fowler.”