21 S. Last Chance Gulch Street,
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The Family Theatre was opened by John J. “Jack” Clark (1864-1938) in about 1907, and was Helena’s leading vaudeville house before the opening of the Marlow Theatre in 1918.
The entrance to the Family Theatre was located at 21 S. Main Street (now renamed). The second story of the building, which still stands, was once home to Ida’s Rooms— later Dorothy’s Rooms — famous bordellos. The Windbag Saloon now occupies the adjacent Reeves Music House space. Although the Family Theatre entrance was on Main Street, the theatre itself was the first floor of the repurposed St. Louis Hotel, which backed up to Jackson Street.
In the above circa 1916 photo, the poster in front of the theatre touts the Frank Rich Musical Comedy Company, members of which are likely in these placarded automobiles, preparing for a publicity ride through town.
Closed as the Family Theatre March 10, 1919.
Shortly after this closing, Helena dentist Dr. Edward V. Cabbage (he later changed his last name to Bethel) opened a movie theatre in the ground floor space, and had a dental office and apartment above. In 1925, his office and apartment were severely vandalized during his absence by a gang of boys.
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