Ute Theatre

126 E. Pikes Peak Avenue,
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

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DavidZornig on August 22, 2015 at 1:14 pm

1961 photo added courtesy of The Denver Eye Facebook page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 6, 2014 at 2:30 am

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.

Chris1982 on September 6, 2014 at 12:13 am

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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 20, 2014 at 11:37 pm

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.

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on March 20, 2014 at 2:16 am

Seated 1,200 according to the Film Daily Yearbook of 1942

rekercher on February 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

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!

boompated on June 22, 2013 at 5:05 pm

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

jgenung on June 30, 2012 at 9:48 am

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.

William on August 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm

The above picture is for the UTE 70 Theatre, not the above UTE theatre.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on July 24, 2010 at 2:50 am

From 1953 a photo postcard that captured a view of the Ute, Peak and Chief Theaters.

From 1930 a picture postcard showing the Ute and Chief Theaters.

And from the early 1900s a photo of the Rialto Theater before it became the Ute.

kpdennis on May 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

The Ute on the right in this Colorado Springs street scene from 1945:
View link

Irene225 on June 10, 2008 at 7:37 pm

My dad was in the army reserves and when he had to go to Camp Carson for two weeks one summer in the late 40’s, he took our family with him (from California). We stayed near some lake (can’t remember the name)while he went “soldiering”. I remember we went to the Ute but can’t remember what we saw. However, I remember watching “Rosanna McCoy” at the Chief.

kencmcintyre on November 9, 2007 at 11:17 am

Interesting article about the preservation of the Ute:

kencmcintyre on November 9, 2007 at 11:13 am

This is an eBay ad, so it might not be around long. It looks like the address is E. Pikes Peak, without the apostrophe:

jgenung on November 9, 2007 at 9:58 am

Warren, thanks loads for these great pictures! Just wish color had been the vogue in ‘37 as monochrome simply does not do justice to what the ol’ place really looked like. However, they do show the meticulous detail of the artwork and the house curtain’s design remained intact up until the last time I saw it from the booth; maybe ‘64 or '65. If anything, they illustrate the absolute necessity of preserving these architectural treasures. BTW, does anyone on this forum know if vaudeville ever ran at the Ute? I know the Chief, down the street on Pikes Peak Avenue, was originally a vaudeville house but I am unsure if it ran elsewhere in The Springs. Also for any of you Old Timers, Wayne Lemle, the IATSE projectionist who worked alongside my mentor at the Ute, A.B. Cooke Sr, passed away last year after many years of service to the craft. Sadly, these old craftsmen are quickly passing into history.

Patsy on November 9, 2007 at 9:14 am

Warren: These interior Ute photos are simply very unique and I sure hope the Old West paintings and decor still exist as that is what made it so unique. But I had to remind myself that the function of this restaurant according to CT is that it’s a restaurant now so it’s anyone’s guess if those Old West paintings are covered up and could be exposed again in the restaurant. Perhaps a CT member who lives near this theatre could tell us….would be nice to know.

kencmcintyre on March 3, 2007 at 11:01 am

The Ute 70 was converted to an antiques gallery in 1991:

Gazette, The (Colorado Springs, CO) – June 21, 1991

Longtime downtown retailers Joe and Gary Loveless have purchased the Ute 70 Theater and converted it into a cooperative antique gallery. The Lovelesses are part of a family partnership called One Twenty East Kiowa Co. that paid $136,200 for the 24-year-old theater, a fraction of the price it sold for seven years ago. They purchased the Ute 70, at 21 N. Nevada Ave., from the Resolution Trust Corp., the nation’s thrift bailout agency, last September.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 7, 2005 at 6:24 pm

The original address of the Ute Theatre (before it was moved along the street) was 126 E Pikes Peak Avenue.

Patsy on February 5, 2005 at 1:51 pm

The style Pueblo Deco would be interesting and different!

Patsy on January 28, 2005 at 8:52 pm

Too bad it couldn’t have stayed a theatre in it’s original location!

samr on August 2, 2004 at 8:58 pm

I worked as a usher when i was a kid my first job. Were ran how the west was wone for a month.I made $.65 an hour. And could go to eather the Ute or the Cooper theatres for free. We were jelles of the guys that worked at the Cooper there marke was behind a glass window so they didnt have to go out in the cold to change it. It was torn down when Cooper the owner build the new Ute 70. CIG gas bought the old Ute and build there building there.

jgenung on March 10, 2004 at 4:51 pm

The Colorado Springs Ute was an architectural gem, mainly owing to the Native American themes employed throughout the theater. It was a cousin of the Trail and Tompkins Theaters, neither of which could approach the Ute’s formality and grandeur. It’s worth noting the Ute was owned and managed by the Cooper Foundation, who also ran the now-famous Cooper Cinerama roundhouses in Denver, Omaha and St. Louis Park, MN. When the Ute was closed and replaced by the Ute 70 immediately to its east on Nevada Avenue, it was a loss to Colorado Springs theater buffs. I learned the motion picture craft watching one of the Ute’s long-time projectionists, Al (A.B.) Cooke Sr., who remains one of my boyhood heroes to this day. This man’s dedication to perfection was unequalled, at least in my mind, and his kindness and mentoring has always been a source of pride. The Ute’s booth consisted of meticulously maintained Simplex XL’s with Peerless Magnarc lamphouses and I recall fondly the times I’d have to talk the grouchy old doorman into letting me up into the closed balcony to “visit the booth.” If the theater missed anything architecturally, it was a lack of boxes either side of the stage. However, the auditorium was fairly box-like and I’m certain the incorporation of boxes would have significantly cramped the screen. Nevertheless, I’m sure that anyone who attended movies at the Ute will agree, it was a memorable theater and one that deserved preservation.