After falling on hard times and closing briefly, the Palace Theatre in Elmwood has reopened, thanks to a group of 40 private investors who raised the funds needed to bring the historic theater back to its feet. “We simply had to preserve this piece of the community,” said Rick LeHew, president of the Palace Theatre Board of Directors. “We have been fortunate to have an amenity like a movie theatre—which shows first-run movies—in our small town, and it didn’t take long to find enough people who agreed.”
The two-story theatre, located at 122 W. Main Street, opened in 1913 as a venue for vaudeville shows, and quickly transitioned from live theatre to silent film, then to “talkies” and full-color motion pictures. It’s also been the setting for concerts, meetings and other special events.
“The theatre has been truly integral to Elmwood’s history,” LeHew added. “The heritage of this place is literally etched into stone—you can still find the name of the local man who constructed the building, Lafe Dalton, high on a cornerstone of the theatre.” Elsewhere, the names of performers and guests dating back a century are scrawled on a wall behind the stage.
Over the years, the building has been remodeled numerous times, all while preserving its historic character. Though severely damaged in a 2010 tornado, it reopened a year later after extensive renovations, and today, it’s back once again: a Main Street mainstay in Elmwood. iBi
The Palace Theatre is open daily, with shows at 7pm Monday through Sunday, and 2:30pm Sunday matinees. For more information, visit facebook.com/elmwoodpalacetheater.