Nifty Theatre

201 West Locust Street,
Waterville, WA 98858

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This old wooden theater has been restored and is supposedly open, but the last information I can find is from 2002. I’m not sure whether it shows movies, or is a community center. The marquee is very old fashioned and small, and is inside the front doors.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

KenRoe
KenRoe on July 31, 2005 at 12:49 pm

Listed in the Film Daily Yearbook 1941 edition as having a seating capacity of 290.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 31, 2005 at 1:27 pm

Chuck….Thanks for posting that Nifty photo of the Nifty Theater. You are a Nifty person for doing that. :)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 12, 2007 at 4:21 pm

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999

Nifty Theatre (added 1999 – Building – #99000402)
201 Locust, Waterville
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
Architectural Style: Mission/Spanish Revival
Area of Significance: Entertainment/Recreation, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1900-1924, 1925-1949
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Theater
Current Function: Work In Progress

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 13, 2007 at 5:32 am

Here is a photo of the Nifty Theater taken by Seth Gaines.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 6, 2008 at 9:47 am

This is a 2008 photo of the Nifty.

sjohnTac
sjohnTac on September 2, 2008 at 8:50 pm

The Nifty is a real gem inside. It operates for movies when there’s a community fundraiser or desire; same for drama productions. The owner, James Dixon, is a theater enthusiast and has put a lot of work into restoring & maintaining this building. It has a historic, handpainted backdrop and exotic landscape scenes painted in the ceiling coves. The old vaudeville pit is still visible.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 1, 2009 at 9:46 am

An address search for the Nifty returns 201 West Locust Street and the phone number given is 509.421.4006.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Here is a 2009 Nifty photo.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 17, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Here is some nifty information from the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development.

Built in 1918, Waterville’s Nifty Theater is one of the oldest surviving and functioning movie theaters in Washington. Now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the theater was built and operated by Mr. And Mrs. W.P. Brown who lived in the building’s basement apartment from 1919 to 1959. Throughout its heyday, the family-run Nifty brought the best of Hollywood entertainment to residents of the rolling wheat fields of Douglas County. But the Nifty offered more than films, bringing vaudeville acts, newsreels, and entertainers to remote Waterville. Local high school plays and community events also were mounted on the Nifty stage. Following a decline with the advent of television, the theater was purchased in 1997 by local preservationists who cleaned and repaired the building after years of neglect. New owners Jim and Jenna Dixon brought back movies, traveling shows, and local productions, once again making the Nifty as much a community center as a movie theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm

This is a nice recent photo of the Nifty.

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