You know what gets very little attention on this blog? Movies. We spend all of our time recommending outdoor adventures, amazing live performances, places to eat, breweries to visit, and ghost towns to haunt, but we sped remarkably little time discussing to simple pleasure of watching a movie. So today we are going to throw you a curveball, and eagle-eyed readers might already be able to guess what it is: you should go to a movie. There are, of course, cinemas across Southwest Montana: Helena, Butte, Dillon, and Whitehall all have movie theaters. But why not head to one of the theaters listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings?
In Southwest Montana, there are two cinemas on the National Register. The Washoe Theatre in Anaconda opened its doors in 1936. The building itself is a delight to see, the interior is filled with massive murals, intricately carved woodwork, etched glass, and copper, gold, and silver accents. It was designed in what is called the Nuevo Deco style, a sort of mix between Art Nouveau and Art Deco. It was one of the last theaters built in the style, and one of the only such theaters that survives in the United States today. Of course, to see the interior, you’ll have to buy a movie ticket. Not to worry, though, because tickets still only average $5.00.
The other National Register of Historic Places theater in Southwest Montana is the Rialto Theatre in Deer Lodge. Built in 1921, the beautiful Beaux Arts cinema was badly damaged by a fire in 2006, but has been carefully restored to its former glory by the local community. the interior is adorned with plaster work and murals, and the exterior is an unmissable bright white stucco, and brilliant red roof. Like the Washoe in Anaconda, the Rialto only screens one movie at a time, but it also features an exciting line up of live performances.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that you miss out on any opportunities to catch a live performance in any of the superb and historic theaters across Southwest Montana, but if you get the opportunity, you should definitely schedule in a few hours for a movie in a theater from the golden age of cinemas.