Get to Know Us

The West Theatre

History

The West Theatre first opened on Christmas Day in 1937, the brainstorm of J.B. Clinton and Clarence Kaake. As designed by architect Perry E. Crosier of Minneapolis, it is a streamlined modern variation of Art Deco and originally seated 595 people. Unfortunately, in the mid 1950s the theatre closed. Subsequently the space housed several operations until the early 1980s when it ultimately became vacant for over a decade.

The building got new life in 1997 when it reopened as a quilt shop, then David Orman purchased the building and operated Raven and Associates Screen Printers until 2014. Orman put the building up for sale in 2015, but when he learned that Robert Boone had an interest in restoring the building to its original use as a theater, Orman pulled the property off the market. Orman’s belief that West Duluth had a great need for a neighborhood theatre led Orman to hold a $500 deposit check for eleven months while Boone explored the feasibility of the project.

Restoration

Determined to restore the historic theatre, Boone bought the building for $140,500 on Oct. 5, 2016; with the assistance of Park State Bank and the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund.

Although the auditorium was gutted and the marquee gone, the building was structurally solid and had a newer roof. The lobby was in virtually original condition, though due to materials no longer in production some changes from the original design were unavoidable. The theater required a new marquee, a digital projection booth, HVAC, upgraded bathrooms and much more. The rear section of the sloped auditorium floor was leveled out by pouring a concrete slab the width of the building, 16 feet by 40 feet and 20 inches thick adding a lounge and extra bathrooms.

A New Beginning

Nearly three years later, at an overall cost of $1.5 million dollars, The West Theatre had it’s Grand Opening on June 21, 2019

headlines

In the news

Special thanks to our volunteers who made The West Theatre possible!
Thank You To Our Sponsors!