Harrison Avenue Theatre

1803 Harrison Avenue,
Butte, MT 59701

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Functions: Retail

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On January 18, 1976, John Cunningham writing in the Montana Standard, looked back at some of the early Butte theaters. The Harrison Avenue Theatre, located two miles away from the central business district, opened in 1917. Butte newspapers are filled with references to one of its early managers, William “Billy” Woolfall, described as a “well-known theatrical man of Butte.” The Anaconda Standard said of Woolfall that he was “admitted to be one of the best baritones in Butte.”

Other Woolfall showhouses at different times were the Montana Theatre, Orpheum Theatre, Park Theatre and Peoples Theatre. In 1928 Woolfall became a representative for the Pathe Film Exchange, which entailed traveling to other Montana cities to sell their product. The first film he was responsible for was Cecil B. DeMille’s “King of Kings". Woolfall continued to remain active in the Butte theater business, with E.P. White and Bucky Harris as his partners in the Park Theatre.

The Harrison Avenue Theatre, listed in the Film Daily Yearbook of 1927 with 800 seats, disappeared from the listings in 1929. In 1939 South Side Hardware moved into the building and remained there until 1997.

When William Woolfall passed on in 1943 at the age of 64, his name had been mentioned in the news since 1903. His obituary said “As a young man he toured the nation with various vaudeville circuits and was considered one of the outstanding variety vocalists of the vaudeville stage.”

Since 2001 1803 Harrison Avenue Theatre has been home to the Great Harvest Bread Company.

Contributed by Ron Pierce. Thanks to Richard I. Gibson, author of Lost Butte, Montana
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