Isis Theatre

South façade of Isis Theatre, probably dating to the 1930s.

 
Year Listed: 2020
County: Teller County
Construction Date: original 1899; reconstructed 1904
Threat When Listed: Neglect
Status: ALERT

 

Victor, Colorado, has a rich architectural heritage and a colorful and bawdy past, to put it mildly.  The Isis Theatre, located in the heart of the small downtown and its former Red Light district, epitomizes this wildly entertaining past as it serves as a panorama of the history of live theatre, motion pictures, and entertainment from the earliest era of the town up until the present.  The original theater was built in 1899 but burned down along with most of town that year.  It was rebuilt in 1904 and is the only theater in town and is an integral part of the National Register Historic District. 

The theater’s stage has been used for vaudeville shows, plays and movies and contains a vast display of memorabilia, including vintage costumes, playbills, posters, theater curtains, and its original piano.  The art nouveau light fixtures in the auditorium are believed to be original to the post-fire building of 1904.  There are about 300 wooden, upholstered seats left in various condition, with elaborate carvings on the end-of-row seats.  Upstairs there are two vintage arc-light projectors believed to be in working condition that are thought to have some direct link to Thomas Edison’s designs for DC voltage, which subsequently required converters in the basement after rival Nikola Tesla implemented Victor’s groundbreaking AC power grid. 

 

Theatre owners Daniel Whitmore and Cynthia Hermanns

The theater’s owners, teacher-historian Cynthia Hermanns and artist-musician Daniel Whitmore, are local residents who love the community and set out to find a vacant building to buy that could make a significant positive impact on the town.   The City of Victor, Mayor and Council and area business owners all support the ongoing care and future rehabilitation of the Isis Theatre.  As a candidate community in the Colorado Main Street Program, Victor hopes that rehabilitation and re-use of the long-closed theatre can serve as a catalyst for broader downtown and community revitalization. Contact has been made with other theater owners utilizing arc-light projectors to learn more about their use and restoration. The theater was also featured in two publications, Colorado Central Magazine and the Colorado Springs Gazette. The nearby Newmont Mining Foundation has been contacted as a possible funding source for further work on this resource.

CPI supports these goals and will provide technical expertise and help with finding additional partners and resources for the preservation effort. Learn more about the site by clicking on the video below from our program partner, CBS4.

Isis Theatre In Victor

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The 2017 update, Preservation for a Changing Colorado, resulted from a partnership between Colorado Preservation and History Colorado and Colorado Preservation, Inc. Prepared by Clarion Associates, the new report and accompanying website document the economic benefits of rehabilitation projects, analyzes property values and neighborhood stability in local historic districts, and summarizes the increasing impact of heritage tourism, private preservation development and the success of Colorado’s Main Street program. In a key finding, researchers found that for every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado leads to $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state! The 2017 report also considers the important role preservation plays in helping Coloradans provide new spaces for creative communities and co-working, create and sustain meaningful places, respond to the state’s changing demographics, and address climate concerns. Click Here to see the full report, "Preservation for a Changing Colorado".