Historic Wilson Theatre celebrates 100 years

Community members saved the theater from being torn down in 1999
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 12:23 PM MDT
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RUPERT, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - 2020 marks a milestone for the historic Wilson Theatre in Rupert. The theater is turning 100 years old.

Built in 1920, the Wilson Theatre has been home to vaudeville acts, movies, plays and shows over the past 100 years.

“It was built in 1920 by a man named Daniel Ward Wilson, it’s interesting to note, bid to build the theater was $30,000, which doesn’t seem like very much,” said Kris Faux, the theater administrator. “When they were done building the theater it actually cost $75,000 so it went way over budget.”

After about 10 years of vacancy, the theater was going to be torn down in 1999, but the community stepped in to help.

“There was a survey given and people felt like that was what they wanted to save, this was the building that was to be saved, so that is what we worked on, and these 10 business men all put in $10,000, so we had $100,000 seed money to start with,” Faux said.

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Posted by Historic Wilson Theatre on Thursday, June 18, 2020

From the stage to the floors, the theater was loved and restored by the community who cares about it.

“There have been times of feast or famine, there have been times of board members paying the actual bills to keep the lights on,” Faux said.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Historic Wilson Theatre had lots of events planned to celebrate its monumental 100th year.

“We are just going to keep going until COVID shuts us down, and we hope that you’ll come and feel safe at the theater. We are trying to make things safe so everyone will have an enjoyable time,” Faux said.

Faux said the theater has brought joy to many and hopes it can continue to do so.

“The people love the building,” Faux said. “They recognize that it is their building, and they want to take care of it. Idaho is the Gem State and the Historic Wilson Theatre is one of those gems.”

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