- ABOUT US
These distinguished theaters, all on the National Register of Historic Places and originally built within two years of one another, are enjoying restorations and rebirths in beauty and purpose.
By MEGAN ROSSMAN
Photography by JOHN JERNIGAN
As the house lights dim, chatter gives way to the crackle of candy wrappers and popcorn bags as the audience shifts its attention to the flickering glow of the screen. In the late 1920s and ’30s, when bread lines and bust were daily realities, Americans found escape in the dim auditoriums of their local theaters. Whether they originally showcased vaudeville acts in Miami or talkies in Woodward, these grand theaters were community castles where every Oklahoman could—-at least temporarily—feel like royalty.
In the decades that followed, movie attendance was at an all-time high, and it was rare to find a theater that hadn’t at some point affixed a glowing movie marquee to its façade, giving up stage acts for Hollywood. As television made its way into Americans’ homes and hearts, many theaters boarded up their doors. In the years since, dedicated citizens in a handful of Oklahoma communities have rolled up their sleeves, pulled out their wallets, and pushed for the preservation and revitalization of beloved community landmarks like the Ramona Theatre in Frederick. After all, the show must go on.