Ralston Theatre

501 Main Street,
Ralston, OK 74650

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The Ralston Opera House was built in 1902. There was a hardware store on the ground floor, with the opera House upstairs on the second floor. It was running movies in the early-1920’s but had closed by the end of the decade.

After sitting unused for almost 60 years, it was purchased by Bill Hiser in the mid-1980’s, with plans to restore the theatre, but sadly he died before it was completed. In 2018 there is a ‘Go Fund Me’ scheme to help restore the theatre.

Contributed by Tom D. Bakerson

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 14, 2018 at 12:41 am

Actually there is quite a bit of information about this theater on the Internet. It was built in 1902 by the Harry Brothers, who operated a hardware store on the ground floor. The Ralston Opera House occupied the entire upper floor. The theater ran movies into the 1920s, but closed before the end of that decade.

After sitting disused for about sixty years, it was bought by Bill Hiser in the mid-1980s, as noted in this article from NewsOK. Hiser began the restoration of the house, but died before it was completed. Despite being listed on the NRHP, the Opera House building is deteriorating and is in danger of being demolished. Local citizens attempting to save it have launched a Go Fund Me site for the project.

This web page has many recent photos of the building, quite a few of them depicting the Opera House interior. The auditorium still has seats in it, though the floor is flat, which was customary in small town opera houses of the period, which were intended for multiple uses. There is no projection booth.

I’ve also found mention of a movie house called the People’s Theatre operating in Ralston in the early 1920s. As the Opera House was open at the same time, the People’s must have been a different theater, perhaps a storefront conversion.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 14, 2018 at 12:45 am

The building’s address is 501-503 Main Street.

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