HISTORY The Ute Theatre was built in 1916. It was a Livery Stable owned by Jud Keyes. Later it served as a garage and blacksmith shop.
In 1930 Ross Labart bought the building and increased the height of the building and built the Ute Theatre.
After a few years, Luis Groy, took over the operation of running the theatre. His daughter Josie -McDaniels and her husband kept the business going for many years. They sold to Rod Hines, who ran it for a short time. He sold it to Susan Crutchfield. Christine Gydesen purchased it in May of 2009. The seats are Art Deco Style of the late 1930’s or early 40’s. The cushions are made of spring & straw, and have an interesting art deco detail to them, which used to have lights at the base of them and are cast metal.
The Popcorn Machine is a 1930 Manley Aristocrat- Top of the Line Model. It took 2 years after it was ordered to arrive at it's new home, due to the war effort. There are very few left in existence.
Extensive renovations have been done including plumbing and electrical. Walls and 2 sets of double doors have been removed in order to open up the lobby area. The entrance to the theatre has been relocated in order to provide better sound deadening, and create a place for theatrical lighting above the new entrance. In order to retain the architectural element of the original entrances to the theatre, the top half of each of the original doorways has been retained and now showcases the next weeks “Coming Soon” posters.
The original men’s bathroom has been remodeled to more than double its size in order to accommodate wheelchairs. In addition to that, the 1st two rows of the theatre flanking the center seats are handicap accessible.
"The Ute Theater in downtown Saguache first opened in the 1930s, according to Christine Gydesen, former owner of The Historic Ute Theatre. She purchased the theater in May of 2009, after it had been out of operation for nearly three years. Before that it had only operated on and off for the past thirty years. The new Ute Theater ran feature films until December of 2012, when Gydesen was informed by her film buyer about the coming transition to digital and its expected costs – nearly $85,000. Her buyer noted that by October of 2012, more than 50 of his clients in the western U.S. had closed their doors. Facing the possible closure of her own theater, she hosted a “Farewell to 35mm Night,” splicing together hours’ worth of movie trailers dating back to the 1970s. The handful of people who showed up were invited up to the projection booth and shown the process of threading the film through the theater’s 1930s Peerless Magnarc projector, firing it up possibly for the last time. “I turned on the triple platter system with the micro switch, and flipped the switch which starts the projector, which creates that all-too-familiar clickety-clak of the projector running. Among the group was an eight-year-old boy and I thought, boy, does he have something he can tell his grandchildren …. He witnessed the end of an era,” she said."
Excerpt from "LIGHTS OUT? The Clock is Ticking for Small Rural Movie Theaters" Published October 1, 2013 in CoZine.com By Mike Rosso
The final live theatre performances at the Historic Ute Theatre were produced by The Ute Repertory Theatre Company:
July 17 The Saguache Community Theatre presents: "The Pirates of Penzance"
September 19th 7th Annual Melodrama: The Treasure of Shiver River
September 18,19 & 26 A yearly melodrama from The Saguache Community Theatre: “Stop the Presses” or “She’s Not My Type” Directed by Virginia Drake
-December 5th "A Christmas Carol." written by Charles Dickens and produced by The Ute Repertory Theatre Company.