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Majestic Theatre

Bashaw

Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Majestic Theatre is one and one-half storey theatre with clapboard siding, a front-facing gable roof, and boomtown front with a signboard reading “MAJESTIC THEATRE”. It is located on Main, 50, Street near the northeast edge of Bashaw’s commercial district. (Source SOS)

Heritage Value
The Majestic Theatre is significant for its association with still and motion picture entertainment in Bashaw, and for its Boomtown design.

The Majestic is an important part of Bashaw’s built heritage for its Boomtown design. Boomtown architecture is more commonly associated with the 1900’s and 1910’s in Alberta, but it continued to be a popular style for commercial buildings well into the mid-twentieth century. The boomtown front increases the building’s presence on the street and provides a large surface area for signage. The Majestic Theatre is believed to be last remaining Boomtown style theatre in Western Canada. Its wood frame construction and inherently rural ‘frontier’ design were practical and visually familiar to local residents. The building had a flat floor with moveable wooden chairs so that it could host dances as well as magic lantern shows, travelling theatre, silent films, and eventually films with sound. The building has received numerous renovations since it was first constructed, particularly when it was given a stucco finish between 1940 and 1944, and when the front facade received a Moderne facelift sometime between 1946 and 1951. In 1998 the Friends of the Majestic Theatre was formed to restore the building to its pre-1930’s condition – a task completed in 2004. Bashaw’s Majestic Theatre was designated as a Registered Historic Resource by the Province of Alberta in 2000, underscoring its significance to the Town of Bashaw, and to the province as a whole.

The Majestic Theatre is an important building in Bashaw with still and motion picture entertainment. Town founder Eugene Bashaw partnered with Mrs. Ella Wing to build the theatre in 1915, and in addition to numerous community functions it hosted travelling magic lantern shows. The Theatre was sold to Tom Stranatka in 1921 and converted into a silent picture house renamed “Majestic Theatre, Home of Good Pictures”. The theatre showed films such as the Last of the Mohicans, Mysterious Rider, and Jesse James, and introduced Bashaw residents to American popular culture and the cult of the cowboy. The theatre had difficulty paying taxes in the 1920’s but the Secretary Treasurer of the Town of Bashaw filed caveats for tax recovery on the property, ensuring that the theatre would continue to serve as a community hub. The theatre was bought by John Malaniuk in 1928 and sold shortly thereafter to J.R. Whitney, who used it primarily as his real estate office but would occasionally show films in the building. In 1939 the Roman Catholic Church purchased the building to use as a social service centre. J.R. Whitney bought the theatre a second time in 1940, and then modernized it to accommodate the new technology of motion picture entertainment. When Joseph Dick purchased the Majestic Theatre in 1945 he renamed it the “Dixy”, and the theatre continued to provide cinematic entertainment to the people of Bashaw and the surrounding area until 1984.



Source: Town of Bashaw, By-Law 730-2011


Character-Defining Elements
The character defining elements as expressed in the form, massing, materials of the 1915 one and one-half storey Majestic Theatre include:

-The front-facing gable roof

-The massing

-The location on 50 Street, near the core of Bashaw’s commercial area

Source: Bashaw – Highway 21 Heritage Inventory Project, Robert Buckle, Heritage Collaborative Inc., November 2009 , Town of Bashaw By-Law 730-2011


Location



Street Address: 5112 - 50 Street
Community: Bashaw
Boundaries: Lots 5 and 6, Block 13, Plan 2627AC
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
52 35.069 -112 58.197 GPS NAD27

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2011/01/18

Historical Information

Built: 1915-1915
Significant Date(s) 1915-1925
Theme(s)
Historic Function(s): Leisure : Auditorium, Cinema or Nightclub
Current Function(s):
Architect:
Builder:
Context:

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0253
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link:
Data Source: Town of Bashaw 5011 - 52 Avenue Box 510 Bashaw, Alberta T0B 0H0
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