Alpine Theatre

204 W. Main Street,
Kingwood, WV 26537

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The Alpine Theatre was open as early as 1939. Seating was listed at 280 seats. It was operated by the Alpine Theatres who had a number of theatre in small towns in WV that went by the same name. The building has had a make-over and is now a furniture and appliance store.

Any additional information on the Alpine Theatre would be appreciated.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 21, 2013 at 9:05 pm

From 1936 to 1958, Kingwood was listed in the Film Daily Yearbook as the home of the Alpine Theatre Circuit. However, the location was given as Price and Main Streets, which would be a long block east of this theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 22, 2013 at 10:05 am

I’m only saying that for more than 20 years the FDY said that the Alpine circuit’s office was at Price and Main Streets in Kingwood. It’s just an isolated fact that I found interesting. By itself it doesn’t mean anything, but it could be a clue to something about the history of the circuit or of Kingwood’s theaters.

For example, in 1930 there was a theater in Kingwood called the Arcade. Was it the Alpine under an earlier name, or was it a different theater? If it was a different theater, did it belong to Charles Anderson, who launched the Alpine Circuit around 1934 or 1935? Might the Arcade have been at Price and Main Streets?

Puzzling out the history of theaters in a given place is often a matter of assembling a bunch of scattered facts from different sources, and you don’t know what the big picture will be until you have several of those facts to put together.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 23, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I don’t seen any negativity, Chuck. I know that some of the odd fragments of information I post are undoubtedly puzzling, but I post them because there’s always a chance that somebody will be able to add something to clarify them. (Also if I just put them down on paper there’s a good chance that I’ll lose track of them. I’m not good at organizing notes.)

I think Stephen is pretty sharp, too. He has been making a lot of useful contributions to the site. I can’t say I’m surprised, as it clearly runs in the family.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 25, 2013 at 12:59 pm

This item from the November 23, 1935, issue of The Film Daily confirms that the Seneca Theatre in Kingwood did become the Alpine Theatre:

“Kingwood, W. Va. — The Alpine, formerly the Seneca, which is operated by Charles A. Anderson, has been equipped with new RCA High Fidelity sound.”
As the name change is mentioned in the item it must have taken place fairly recently. There is also an item in the December 4 issue of the same publication which appears to be about Kingwood, even though, annoyingly, the name of the town is not mentioned:
“W. E. Keller, West Virginia operator, has opened the Lyric. The Seneca Theater in the same town has been taken over by the Alpine Circuit, operated by Anderson & Urling, and renamed the Alpine. House was formerly operated by C. E. Cooper.”
Now we have a third theater in Kingwood, or perhaps another name for the Arcade, or maybe just a mistake by The Film Daily. To add to the confusion, the December 30 issue has another item saying that the Alpine, formerly the Seneca, in Kingwood had been transferred to Urling and Anderson by a C. C. Clendenin. What happened to Cooper? Was the December 4 item actually about a different Seneca Theatre in some other town that had also been taken over by Anderson and Urling? I have no clue. I sometimes get the feeling that The Film Daily is trying to get my goat.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 25, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Another explanation occurs to me: perhaps Cooper was the former operator of the Lyric, not the Seneca. A lot of items in the trade journals were hastily written, so the line with Cooper’s name might simply have been placed in the wrong part of the paragraph.

I’ve also found a few more references to Walter B. Urling, Anderson’s partner in the Alpine Circuit. In 1930, he was operating a house called the Rex Theatre at Steubenville, Ohio, where he was also building the New Rex, and he also had a house called the Columbia Theatre in East Liverpool, Ohio. That same year he bought a house called the Liberty Theatre in Midland, West Virginia.

In the late 1930s, Urling had his office in Wellsburg, West Virginia, where the Alpine Circuit operated two houses: the Alpine, which was probably an old theater renamed, and a new house called the Star Theatre, which opened in late 1936.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I don’t know why I forgot this, but the house the Alpine Circuit took over in Marlinton, West Virginia, might have been called the Seneca. It might still have been called the Seneca in 1936, though, so might not have been the house in the December 4, 1935, FD item about the town with no name attached.

The earliest mention of Anderson and Urling in connection with the theater in Kingwood and with the Alpine Theatre Corporation that I’ve found is in the January 18, 1935, issue of The Film Daily, so they must have taken over the house at the beginning of that year, and the corporation was probably formed in 1934. The house had already been renamed the Alpine by January, 1935.

Anderson also took over a house called the Salem Theatre at Salem, West Virginia, noted in the March 25 issue of FD. The Alpine Circuit took over and renamed the Strand Theatre at Wellsburg, WV, as noted in the March 30 issue. This was very rapid expansion, indeed. They must have been very well financed or very canny, or both.

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