215 N. Main Street,
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Previously operated by: Fox Inter-Mountain Theaters Inc.
Architects: Walter H. Simon
Styles: Streamline Moderne
Previous Names: Fox Chief Theatre
The neon-lit Indian-chief head that watched over Pocatello’s Main Street was a local landmark. After opening on January 6, 1938 with Wallace Beery in “The Bad Man of Brimstone”, the Fox Chief Theatre served the community for over 40 years, and during the golden age, under Fox Intermountain Theatres.
The interior has scenes of the old West painted along the side-walls of the auditorium, with borders made of tribal symbols. Stencilled buffalo medallions looped overhead on the ceiling above the balcony.
The Chief Theatre had closed in September 1982 and was deteriorating, it was donated to the city by its owner. The Chief Foundation was formed to restore the building and its volunteers spent nearly ten years using donated money to put the Chief Theatre back together.
More than a superficial restoration, a new roof and a heating and cooling system were installed. The restoration was continuing when the theatre reopened on July 9, 1989 and had reached a point where bookings were being accepted and the community was satisfied that they would finally have a renewed attraction to draw people downtown.
Then the unthinkable happened. On March 20, 1993, the Chief Theatre was gutted by a fire that started in the roof. The only item salvaged from the fire was an Indian-chief tile mosaic.
In 2001, a local business which moved into a building next door to the former Chief Theatre and turned the levelled site into a parking lot, restored the mosaic to use near its entrance.
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