By: Justin Rorie
The Old Royal Theater influenced Northome when it was built in 1941. It was center of town when it was built.
Dates went there, little kid saw Christmas movies, and the elders went there to watch Western movies. Since then, it has gone through many changes. At different times it has served as a day care and a church. Today, it is being fixed up and is now used as a art studio and youth center called simply “The Theater.”
The Old Royal Theater was built in 1941; Rocky Shenheit, a life long resident of the Northome area, helped build the Royal Theater. Leo Allender owned it when it was built to be a movie theater. It was a movie theater from 1942 to 1985.
Dates went there and sat in the dark corner by the crying room, to do I don't know what since none of them would tell me. Back then, ticket in cost 25 to 50 cents.
Current manager Rena Troy said, “Every Christmas the theater would play a free movie for the little kids. One year, the movie didn't come in so the movie was a scary movie and all the kids were scared.”
Troy said that there is a cement and metal room where the projector was. The projector ran on gas motors. The only way the film could be seen was by using an open flame to project the image on the screen which caused lots of explosions in there. That’s why a cement and metal room was built.
People also remember how cold it used to be in there. They used to wear jackets in there because of how cooled it was. Rena’s mom still reminds her to wear her jacket in the movie theaters.
Leo Allender owned and operated it from 1942 to 1961; after that it closed for a year. The Orville and Caroline Curb owned it and ran it as a movie theater from 1961 to 1980. Kay Dahl then bought it and ran it as a day care. Later, Pastor Tim Anderson ran a Assembly of God Church inside.
Now Teen Rescue, a non pofitablegroup in walker owns it , and Rena Troy runs it with the help of her son Robert Troy. It doesn't play movies anymore. Now it is an art studio and a place for youth activity.
When you go there you can play pool there or darts. They have pizza, pop, candy, beef jerky and other good things. Every Wednesday there is a youth group meeting held at the Theater. They read out of the Bible and pray at this time. They have dances, speakers, mentor training and an art studio. They have concerts there. Pegtop is an awesome band to watch; the bass guitarist can play a harmonica with his voice. They are a bunch of funny guys. The Gaels played there. They play an Irish Celtic type of music they had violin,guitar and a drum. They were pretty cool band.
Now it has concerts and sells pizza instead of popcorn. There's been many changes in the Old Royal theater like the Assembly Church, or the day care, and a youth place and art studio. Rena Troy said “ It was the center of town in its time.”