Alpine Theatre

204 W. Main Street,
Kingwood, WV 26537

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 21, 2017 at 1:15 am

This house originally opened as the Arcade Theatre on June 12, 1925. It had been renamed the Alpine Theatre by January, 1935.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 20, 2017 at 4:54 am

I forgot to mention in my previous comment that the newspaper article said that the Alpine Theatre had been demolished in 1981.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 20, 2017 at 4:35 am

A brief history of the Alpine Theatre in Kingwood appears in the September 22, 2010 issue of The Preston County Journal (link). Built to replace an earlier house called the Court Theatre, which had burned down in late 1924, the Alpine opened as the Arcade Theatre on June 12, 1925. After operating for five years, the house closed. The owner, Mrs. Mae V. Brennan, then leased the theater to the Tower Amusement Company, who renovated and installed sound equipment, but the house was only open for one week before the lessees, unable to meet their financial obligations, were forced to close it again.

The Arcade then sat dark until it was reopened on April 1, 1934, by Charles Anderson, who had been showing movies twice a week at Kingwood High School since shortly after the theater had closed. Anderson remodeled the house, redecorating and installing new seats and carpeting. The article says that the house was renamed the Alpine Theatre at this time.

As the Alpine, the theater operated under several owners until 1979, the last movies being shown in December of that year.

There is an item in the November 23, 1935, issue of The Film Daily which contradicts the 2010 newspaper article. Datelined Kingwood, it says “The Alpine, formerly the Seneca, which is operated by Charles A. Anderson, has been equipped with new RCA High Fidelity sound.” Now it is possible that the Arcade was renamed the Seneca briefly before being renamed the Alpine, and the author of the 2010 article simply never saw any information about that brief period, but it is also possible that The Film Daily made a mistake- something it is known to have done fairly often.

What is known is that Charles Anderson and his partner, Walter B. Urling, formed the Alpine Theatre Company in 1934, after taking over the Alpine Theatre in Terra Alta, West Virginia. As there are trade journal references to the Terra Alta house having been called the Alpine prior to Anderson and Urling’s involvement with it. The Terra Alta Alpine, which was surely named for Alpine Lake, near Terra Alta, must have given its name to the Alpine Theatre Company, rather than the other way around.

The Alpine Theatre Company was headquartered in Terra Alta from 1934 to 1936, whereupon it moved to Kingwood, where the headquarters remained until the company was dissolved in 1955. FDY lists the company as active as late as 1958, but this appears to have been another case of the FDY not being updated in a timely manner.