Grand Junction’s Avalon Theatre Celebrates 99 Years in Western Colorado
It won't be long before Grand Junction is celebrating 100 years of the Avalon Theatre! 2022 marks the 99th anniversary of the Avalon in Grand Junction with the centennial celebration of the theater coming up in 2023.
How did the theater begin in Western Colorado? Was it always called the Avalon Theatre? What events are being planned for the Avalon Theatre for 2022? We'll see if we can get answers to these questions as we take a look back at Grand Junction's downtown cornerstone.
When did the Avalon Theatre Open In Grand Junction Colorado?
Grand Junction's Avalon Theatre was built in 1922 and opened on January 5th, 1923. The first show featured Opera Singer Lucy Gates and many of the shows during the early years featured vaudeville and orchestral themes.
According to the Post Independent, dance recitals began at the Avalon Theatre in the 1930s. By the time of the Great Depression, Grand Junction residents were allowed to pay for admission with scraps of metal and even balls of tin foil to gain admission to performances. The scrap metal was purposed for the war effort.
By the 1940s, new ownership took over the Avalon Theatre and renamed it the Cooper Theatre. You can see The Cooper showing up down the street in the upper right corner of the photo below by Bob Grant.
What Renovations Have Taken Place at Grand Junction’s Avalon Theatre?
According to Historical Photos of Fruita & Western Colorado, the Avalon Theatre now looks much like it did when it opened in 1923. For a period of time from the 1940s to the late 1980s, the theater looked much different. Work began in the 1940s to transform the Avalon into the Cooper Theatre. Just look at all that scaffolding!
Workers at the time described having to rehab a condemned building in order to bring the Cooper Theatre to life. Only the sidewalls and roof trusses were left in place and everything else was remodeled. The Cooper was the place to be until about the 1980s when additional theater companies moved into town along with the theatre that opened at Mesa Mall.
Restoring Grand Junction's Avalon Theatre in the 1990s
Grand Junction wanted to revitalize its cornerstone theater by the early 1990s and began a series of seat-by-seat and brick-by-brick fundraisers to restore the building's marquee and get the theater back into working order. Another $120,000 was raised to help renovate the interior.
What’s Coming to the Avalon Theatre in 2022?
Concerts and events are back in a big way at the Avalon Theatre in 2022. The following shows on the calendar show us our cornerstone theater is doing just fine these days.
- SARAH JAROSZ WITH SPECIAL GUEST TAYLOR ASHTON
- CANDLEBOX - WOLVES TOUR 2022
- LANCE BURTON AND FRIENDS
- DISNEY'S "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" BY THE THEATRE PROJECT
- CRYSTAL GAYLE
- HENRY ROLLINS: GOOD TO SEE YOU 2022
- DON MCLEAN
- “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC: THE UNFORTUNATE RETURN OF THE RIDICULOUSLY SELF-INDULGENT, ILL-ADVISED VANITY TOUR
2023 will mark the 100th Anniversary of the Avalon Theatre so we will be looking forward to some special announcements later this year about what to expect.
Be sure to support this historic corner of downtown Grand Junction by purchasing tickets to a concert or event that you would love to see. You'll be helping local businesses, our downtown community, and supporting one of the places that have Grand Junction residents have enjoyed for almost a century. Let's keep it up for another 100 years.