Filed Under Red Lodge

Roman Theatre

Red Lodge Commercial Historic District

Original rusticated and ashlar concrete blocks and the 1935 ROMAN marquee distinguish the façade of this early movie theater. Austrian immigrant Steve Roman built the theater in 1917. One of fourteen sons, nineteen-year-old Roman came to Red Lodge in 1897 to work in the mines. He launched into the theater business, operating several local theaters before he built the Roman. Roman’s wife, Librera, ran the upstairs Hotel Isabella, and at various times Roman’s six children took tickets, performed on the theater’s stage, accompanied silent movies on the organ, operated the projector, and ran the box office. In 1935, Roman extensively remodeled the theater adding air conditioning, new seats, draperies, lighting, and the eight-foot Art Deco style neon marquee. The remodel, by architect Bjarne Moe and contractor C. W. Hamrick, both of Seattle, caused considerable local excitement. The opening gala featured special appearances by the nationally renowned Crockett Family. Admission cost 35 cents for adults and 15 cents for children. Daughter Mary managed the theater until 1977. The Roman retains much of its 1935 façade and is Montana’s oldest, continuously-running moving picture theater.

Images

Roman Theater facade Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Bryan Baldwin Date: July 24, 2022
Roman Theater, front elevation Still image capture of the theater's facade. Image adhered to paper with typed information. b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: 1985
Roman Theater sign Source: MT State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Kate Hampton Date: April 2015
Roman Theater sign at night Creator: Kate Hampton Date: April 2015

Location

120 Broadway Avenue South , Red Lodge, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Roman Theatre,” Historic Montana, accessed December 3, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/143.