Good to be the Chief: Becoming the Chief

The history of the historic downtown building

Audrey Dwyer

• Marck Schafermeyer owned the property in the mid-1920s then deeded it to Harry Gordon in 1926.

• Gordon hired Art Gumprecht to oversee the construction.

• The theater officially opened in early 1927 and was a cultural center from the beginning. It opened as the second motion picture house in town (the first was the Alden Theater where Allen’s Clothing Store is now) but was the first in Northwest Colorado to feature “talkies.”

• Bob Smith painted the Native American murals during Gordon’s ownership of the theater. There were four scenes painted measuring at 12 ft. by 13 ft. each. Smaller symbols were also found on the walls and near the concession stand that was originally called the “Kiva” meaning, the meeting place.

• 1936 Gordon sold the theater to John Grieve, who owned it for nearly three decades. At that time it was used as a movie theater. In addition, the stage would be rented out for organizations to use for theater productions or rehearsals. There was an orchestra pit with a player piano that was used frequently.

• In 1964, the building was bought by George Fick who changed the name to the Village Theater and gave it a new “Alpine” or “Nordic, Scandinavian” façade.

• 1970 Fick sold the building to Mike Barry who extensively remodeled the interior and façade in 1986-1987. The large single theater inside was replace by two theaters, each with approximately 100 seats, in addition to the two smaller theater rooms with 50 seats. The building was renamed the Chief Plaza, in honor of the theater’s original name.

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