Ruby Theatre - Chelan, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 47° 50.396 W 120° 01.057
10T E 723149 N 5302817
Quick Description: Believed to be the oldest continuously running theatre in Washington, the Ruby, now a National Historic Place, continues to screen first run movies, today with the aid of digital projection and sound.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 7/12/2018 6:36:32 PM
Waymark Code: WMYQRG
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 0

Long Description:
Named after Ruby Potter, the infant daughter of its manager, Frank Potter, the Ruby opened in the time of the "Silents", screening silent movies to the accompaniment of a piano. Built at a cost of $6,500, The Ruby was one of the first purpose built movie houses in Washington State. At that time movies, when they were available in the hinterlands, were shown in whatever suitable space could be made available. Not the first movie house in Chelan, it came close on the heels of The Gem Theatre, down the street, now gone, and The Auditorium, location unknown.

Originally built in 1913 - 1914 to seat 350, The Ruby opened in the summer of 1914. After a series of renovations, the most recent major one coming about in the late 40s, The Ruby now seats around 185. As a result of the 1940s renovation, the exterior has been substantially altered, as has the interior, the result of various renovations over the years.

Today The Ruby is also available for rent for private screenings or for special events.

Affixed to the front of the theatre is the following historical marker, placed jointly by the Historic Downtown Chelan Association and the Lake Chelan Historical Society.

Ruby Theatre

The Ruby Theatre was built in 1914 by the Kingman brothers of Chelan and was named for the first manager's daughter. The theatre's auditorium is essentially as it was originally constructed. The early silent films were accompanied by piano and photoplayer until "talkies" became popular in the late 1920s. Traditional film was replaced by digital projection in 2013 for regular shows, but the Ruby maintains its old film projector.

The Ruby Theatre is the oldest continuously running movie theatre in the Northwest United States.



Chelan’s Historic Ruby Theatre opened in the summer of 1914. It was billed as “superior to most theaters, (…) the building is modern and far above average.” The Ruby, named after the first Manager’s daughter, is believed to be the oldest continuously running movie theater in Washington State. The Ruby also is also among the oldest and best preserved movie theaters in the country. In recognition of the Ruby’s historical significance, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

The Ruby is one of many buildings and homes constructed by Chelan brothers, Herbert R. and Morrison M. Kingman, including Campbell’s Resort’s Matson Building a block down the street from the Ruby. The theater was constructed for a cost of $6,500.

There is no record of an architect or designer for the theater and it is unknown where the Kingman’s design originated for their photohouse... ...The modern, new Ruby Theatre included a lobby, fireproof projection room, balcony seating, an orchestra pit, interior telephone system, electrical system for lights and equipment, modern projectors and central heating. The theatre seated 225 on the first floor and 125 in the balcony in their new “steel framed opera chairs.”

The movie industry made tremendous advancements during the 55 years the Kelsey’s owned the theatre. To keep up with these changes they regularly updated the equipment and kept the theatre in good condition through their many years at the Ruby. The original piano used to accompany the early photo-dramas was replaced with a photoplayer in 1919, which was then removed when “talkies” were introduced in the Ruby in 1930, with the film “Sweetie.” A new ‘tube’ Mirrophonic sound system was installed in 1947, along with the Motiographic AA Projector. These remained in use until they were replaced in April of 1999 with Dolby sound, a used Century projector and a film platter.

A new concession area was constructed, bathrooms have been renovated, and a new digital projector with an improved sound system was installed in the spring of 2013.
From The Ruby

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Price of Admission: Not Listed

Weekday Hours: Not listed

Weekend Hours: Not listed

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