Judith Theatre - Lewistown, MT
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 47° 03.939 W 109° 25.538
12T E 619544 N 5213662
Quick Description: Built in 1914 as a movie theatre and performance centre, the Judith Theatre continues in much the same roll to this day.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 2/20/2018 10:09:34 PM
Waymark Code: WMXRN4
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member TerraViators
Views: 0

Long Description:
The theatre was built by the adjacent Bank of Fergus County in 1914. Designed by the renowned architectural firm of Link & Haire, the theatre was built by the Piper Construction Company. We can't help but wonder what the bank's depositors had to say upon learning that their deposits were to be invested in a newfangled "moving picture house". In retrospect, though, it appears to have been a sound investment.

Continuing to screen first run movies today, the Judith has outlived a handful of other "flash in the pan" theatres that came and went in Lewistown. Of course no longer owned by the Bank of Fergus County, the Judith, now known as Judith Cinemas, is now one of the theatres of the Polson Theatres, Inc. chain. Remodelled twice since opening in 1914 (the first in 1948), the second, in 2006-2007, transformed the Judith into a twin.

With a highly detailed terra cotta facade, work typical of Link & Haire, the theatre set the standard for Renaissance Revival or Beaux Arts Revival structures in Lewistown, to the extent that the Bank of Fergus County, when it renovated its adjacent building in 1915, it insisted that the renovations follow the theme of the Judith.

In later years a large marquee with neon "Judith" signs was added to the facade, but the remainder is essentially all original.

Judith Theatre The Bank of Fergus County provided Lewistown with the Judith Theatre "as a place of amusement, not as a financial investment". John D. Waite, F. E. Wright, Austin W. Warr, T. T. Taylor and P. J. Osweiler were the bank officials at the time the elegant theatre was constructed next to their banking facility in the 200 block of Main Street.

The Judith Theatre was designed by J. G. Link and C. S. Haire, who maintained a local office in the Bank of Fergus Co. building. Moving pictures, vaudeville shows, political rallies, concerts and various benefit shows entertained, provoked and delighted Central Montana audiences. The Cook-Reynolds Co. located their "Lands, Loans and Insurance" business in the new theatre building, as did the Judith Basin Land Co. and the Box Elder Land Co. (Both with R. W. Reynolds as "State Agent").

A three bay, two story highly detailed terra cotta facade with common bond brick infill. The facade is capped with a terra cotta raised pediment that occurs over the middle bay. The pediment has raised acroteria on each end that previously held some ornament or figure; the center of the pediment features a terra cotta cartouche. The cornice is terra cotta with exaggerated dentils (or beam ends) and the corona of the cornice contains four terra cotta antefixa (or heads). There are regularly spaced terra cotta panels set in a common bond brick parapet above the cornice that are capped by a terra cotta coping. The frieze is brick with the exception of the terra cotta building name in the center bay and a terra cotta accent on each end. The architrave is terra cotta and is comprised of three projecting bands without decoration other than four projecting cross-frets in the center band above each pilaster. Columns and pilasters are terra cotta with decorative capitals although they are not complete enough to list as a Classical order. The capitals have a projected key or joggle that recurs in the parapet coping. A.wide terra cotta spandrel occurs between first and second floor windows and infills between the pilasters of the respective bays. It is embellished with closely spaced rondelles.
From the NRHP Nomination Form, Site# 147

Photo goes Here

Name of business: Judith Theatre

Type of business: Cinema/Theater

Condition of Neon Sign: Hitsville - In good working order

Physical Location:
219 West Main Street
Lewistown, MT United States

Web Address: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
One picture of sign will suffice. Additional shots - bonus.
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