The An­gelus The­atre 105 year An­niver­sary and Grand Re­open­ing

Serve Daily - - NEWS - By Jan­ice Helmick

In 1912 a young man by the name of Joseph Han­son built a the­atre in Span­ish Fork, Utah. Curt Gor­don bought the the­atre in Fe­bru­ary 2017 and hopes to re­store it to its orig­i­nal grandeur and recre­ate the com­mu­nity trea­sure it once was.

Gor­don es­ti­mates he will need $25,000 to make the im­prove­ments, and he has cre­ated a Go­FundMe page, to help with the fundrais­ing. The grand re­open­ing is sched­uled for Septem­ber 9, 2017.

This is the story of that the­atre, but it is also a his­tory of Joseph Han­son and other peo­ple in­volved with this the­atre.

Joseph Han­son was born on Jan­uary 30, 1874, in Span­ish Fork, Utah. He mar­ried El­iz­a­beth Wil­liams on Fe­bru­ary 18, 1901, in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were the par­ents of four chil­dren by 1912: Anna Fay Han­son born Septem­ber 20, 1901, Melba El­iz­a­beth Han­son born Oc­to­ber 28, 1903, Sarah Belle Han­son born April 27, 1905, and Roland Joseph Han­son born De­cem­ber 1, 1906. Per­haps the de­sire for some­place his chil­dren could go to see movies that was close to home was one of the mo­ti­va­tions for the build­ing of this the­atre.

To ad­ver­tise the open­ing of this the­atre, there was a story writ­ten up in the lo­cal pa­per un­der the ti­tle “An­gelus The­atre, Span­ish Fork, Utah.” The ar­ti­cle reads as fol­lows:

The An­gelus mo­tion pic­ture theater, Span­ish Fork, Utah, a pho­to­graph of which we pub­lish here­with, was opened on Mon­day evening, Septem­ber 9th, 1912, and has since played to crowded houses. It was com­pleted at a cost of $14,000, and is one of the most pre­ten­tious build­ings in the city, which has a pop­u­la­tion of only 4,500. It is mod­ern in every re­spect, be­ing steam heated and elec­tric lighted. The foyer is eight and a half feet wide and is the full length of the build­ing. The fur­nish­ings and dec­o­ra­tions are artis­tic. The main au­di­to­rium has an in­clined floor with 400 opera chairs. A num­ber of boxes are at the dis­posal of the­atre par­ties. The bal­cony is fit­ted with wicker rock­ing chairs.

The op­er­at­ing room is ten feet by twelve feet, metal lined, com­plete with two Power’s No. 6 pro­jec­tion ma­chines with mo­tor at­tach­ments and mo­tor rewind. To the left of the op­er­at­ing room is a re­pair shop and a work­room. Four ven­ti­la­tors are placed in the ceil­ing with a six­teen-inch fan in each. The stage is twenty feet wide by six feet deep and can be used for light vaude­ville, although Mr. A. L. Stallings, who is the man­ager and pro­pri­etor, prefers to run pic­tures.

Max­ine Gor­don and her friends would walk five miles from Lake Shore to the An­gelus The­atre in down­town Span­ish Fork. She re­mem­bers that on a Satur­day night kids would be strung along the road walk­ing to the An­gelus to see a movie. The the­atre was the cen­ter of all the en­ter­tain­ment in those days.

The the­atre was Span­ish Fork’s only movie the­atre when it was de­stroyed by fire in 1948. The theater’s op­er­a­tors, the Huish-Gil­hool cir­cuit, re­built the An­gelus The­atre on the same site, and it was re­opened in 1950.

While the the­atre was be­ing re­built, Huish-Gil­hool cir­cuit opened the Arch The­atre in a Quon­set Hut style build­ing. An ar­ti­cle in Box­of­fice Mag­a­zine said the for­mal open­ing of the Arch The­atre had been sched­uled for July 8. The Quon­set Hut shape was re­tained, the front of the build­ing was ex­panded to one side, and the whole ed­i­fice was given a mod­ern de­sign, built of red­wood and of na­tive rock quar­ried in Park City.

When the An­gelus The­atre re­opened in 1950, Span­ish Fork had two the­atres. The Arch The­atre dis­con­tin­ued oper­a­tion

The An­gelus The­ater will cel­e­brate a 105 Year Grand Re­open­ing in Septem­ber. Photo: Ed Helmick

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