Mountain Home Theatre
150 North Main Street,
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Flames engulfed the former Mountain Home Theatre on Sunday evening, November 21, 1971. The story was covered in Idaho and national newspapers. The theater was then called the Covered Wagon Coffeehouse, a name derived from the fact that it was on the old Oregon Trail. The building was the headquarters of an anti-war organization run by peace activist Mark Lane, who was leasing the building. The owner of the building sued Lane in October for violating the terms of the lease by using it for protest activities. Lane had been recently banned from the local Mountain Home Air Force Base for circulating anti-war literature. Off-duty airmen, who converted the theater in June, had plans to show flicks, stage concerts and plays and hold relevant discussions there. The theatre, which according to a post-fire photos, still had its marquee intact, and two adjacent buildings were gutted, with the walls remaining. The police chief said he did not rule out arson because the fire began in the Covered Wagon.
The New York Times picked up the fire as news in a small article on December 10. It later became somewhat famous when well-known celebrities, including Jane Fonda and Arthur Miller, wrote a letter to the New York Review of Books asking for donation to establish a new center. Oddly enough, after the initial turmoil died down no references to the cause of the fire could be found in later Idaho news reports.
The Film Daily Yearbook of 1940 listed the theater as having 300 seats so it may have been the Weaver Theatre listed in FDY of 1928, also with 300 seats. The gutted buildings were later rebuilt. The former theater is the brown-colored building across the street from Railroad Park, where the train depot stood at the time of the fire.
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