Babcock Theatre

2812 2nd Avenue North,
Billings, MT 59101

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 31, 2014 at 1:08 pm

The NRHP registration form for the Babcock Theatre (PDF here) has a detailed history of the theater and numerous photographs, including photos of the original 1907 interior designed by Edwin W. Houghton and of the 1927 interior with decoration in the Spanish Colonial style by Carl F. Berg of the Shearer studios in Seattle. The theater was closed from June 7 to September 24 for the 1927 remodeling project.

The architect for these major alterations, which included moving the theater entrance from an interior arcade to the street front, and the removal of the 300-seat gallery and the boxes, was not named in the document, but it might have been John G. Link, who did work on the building at some point according to this page from the Montana State University Library.

On the night of February 21 and morning of February 22, 1935, the Babcock Theatre was severely damaged by a fire that caused the roof of the auditorium to collapse. The Wutlizer Hope_Jones organ was destroyed. Reconstruction after the fire took almost six months. The rebuilding project was designed by local architect Edwin G. Osness. The decoration, in the Art Deco style, was by the Heinsbergen Studios of Los Angeles.

The Skouras-style remodeling for Fox Theatres, designed by Carl G. Moeller, which is still largely intact, was done in 1955.

CharmaineZoe on March 2, 2013 at 1:34 am

Had a complete remodel in 1928 in the Colonial Spanish style at a cost of $100,000. Was then owned and operated by the Theatre Operating Company of Billings, Max Fregger & Eugene O'Keefe. Seating capacity was nearly 1,500 persons.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 27, 2009 at 2:59 pm

This is another photo of the Babcock.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 4, 2009 at 10:16 am

Here is another 1986 photo.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm

This was the Babcock in 1980.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 20, 2009 at 1:00 pm

The Babcock Theater had 975 seats in 1955.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Here is the Babcock Theater in 2008.

kencmcintyre on February 14, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Thursday Night Fights are still going on at the Babcock. Status should be open. Function would be…live performances?

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 8, 2008 at 3:14 pm

“With a theater designed by prominent Seattle architect Edwin W. Houghton, it opened Dec 23, 1907”. Source.

2812 2nd Avenue North
Billings, Mt 59101

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 17, 2007 at 6:56 pm

A Wurlitzer theater organ opus 201 style 185 was installed in the Babcock Theater on 1/18/1919.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 27, 2006 at 9:09 am

This is a recent photo of the Babcock Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 26, 2006 at 6:09 am

2808 2nd Ave N
Billings, MT 59101

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 25, 2006 at 3:41 pm

Address and some history of the Babcock theater can be found here.

JimRankin on May 27, 2004 at 1:59 am

The ANNUAL referred to is available from:
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 40 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to loan it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)