Eatonville Theater (ca. 1957)

Old Eatonville Theater, ca. 1957
Old Eatonville Theater, ca. 1957

This shot of the old Eatonville Theater taken in the late 50s, taken by Joe Larin, makes the town look like a ghost town. A new theater had been built but this time, just down on Mashell Ave.

Today the building is home to the Eatonville Dance Center.

For those that are interested in a brief history of the building, this comes courtesy of Rich and Ruthie Williams:

Early history
This building was Eatonville’s first movie theater. It was built in 1915 by Frank Van Eaton. When the foundation and floors were completed around the end of June, the Town decided to celebrate by having their fourth of July dance on this surface.

Later, the addition of walls allowed it to be used briefly as a skating rink. When the building was completed, there was no electricity. A two cylinder kerosene generator supplied power for the first silent films. During the “silent” days, a piano was played during the show; first by A.U. Fairburn and later, Miss Ethel Stinnette.

Eatonville Dance Center, 2015
Eatonville Dance Center, 2015

In addition to film accompaniment, the pianist sold pop corn before the movie and during intermission from a stand set up on a vacant lot next to the theater. In 1922, Angelo Pecchia bought the theater from Frank Van Eaton. Eight years later, in 1930, the “talkies” were first introduced and shown at this theater. In 1931, Angelo married Regina. Mr. and Mrs. Pecchia operated the theater at this location for 20 years. In 1942, they moved into their new theater building next to Hotes Hall on Mashell Avenue.

Past Lives
Since then, the building has housed a Pentecostal Church, the Fraternal Order of Eagles and Eatonville Furniture, operated by Pat and Judy Bertram.

Dance Center & Upholstery Shop
In 2006, Rich and Ruthie Williams purchased the building from Pat Bertram and used it as a warehouse for two years.

In 2009, they renovated the building and converted the furniture store into a dance studio. Justine Reed currently leases the front of the building and manages the Eatonville Dance Center. Pat Bertram still leases the back portion of the building and operates his upholstery shop.

Photo courtesy of the Baublits family.

Click on image to enlarge.

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