Elkhorn Valley Community Theater

101 E. Gardiner Street,
Valley, NE 68064

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Elkhorn Community Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Architects: Henry A. Raapke

Functions: Live Theatre

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Gem Theater, Valley Theater

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Elkhorn Valley Community Theater

The Gem Theater was originally built in the early-1900’s. It burnt to the ground and was rebuilt in 1948 to the plans of architect Henry A. Raapke, reopening as the 420-seat Valley Theater. It has been closed since the late-1960’s.

It has the original interior with neon colors of yellow, green, orange and black. The seats look new. The screen and projector have been removed.

We have done a mini renovation to the lobby area keeping in theme with the d├ęcor. We will need to make the restrooms handicapped accessible.

I am needing some advise about what to do for a screen to show movies. Should I try to search out used equipment or go with newer type technology?

We are hoping to open it with possibly documentary films and family films. Our town is about 3,000 but have a larger city near by that may find it nostalgic to come to a small town to an old movie theater.

I am also needing advice about who to contact about finding and showing these movies. Are there fees to be paid? Rental cost or is purchasing available.

This is our first venture in the movie business. The theater has been vacant for thirty years, used only one or twice a year for school plays. I’ve been approached to buy it and I am very interested, but need these questions answered to help me make my decision.
Thank you for any help you can give me.

Wendy Deane
Valley, Nebraska 68064

Contributed by Wendy Deane

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

kencmcintyre on July 2, 2008 at 4:36 pm

I e-mailed Ms. Deane the other day and she was kind enough to send me a photo and an update on the theater, which is now used for community arts. She also allowed me to post her reply here.

Thanks for the interest in the Valley Theater. The good news is that it wasn’t destroyed and turned into a photography studio…

It is no longer a movie theater, but now a live theater. The Elkhorn
Valley Community Theater group has lovingly transformed it into a live theater. They’ve kept the integrity of the original building, but needed to replace the original seat…not comfy by todays standards and also the seat place for a movie theater is different than a live theater.

They also replaced the carpet and had to replace the original stage as a live theater stage is 4 ft higher. Topped it off with a new state of the art sound system…total of about $200,000 was spent so far. Everyone loves it and it’s brought new life to our community. They do a couple of productions a year and have teamed up with my art gallery where we cater a dinner in the Gallery and host Dinner/Theater nights….also dessert and coffee after the show.

Not exactly the dream we wanted…but nonetheless….our Theater is intact and new life has been brought to it.


Wendy Deane
Valley, NE

kencmcintyre on February 12, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Here is an item from Boxoffice magazine in November 1947:

VALLEY, NEB.-As fas as John Fisher is concerned his old Gem Theater here will have nothing but a tarnished record in his memory-even though it served for 40 years. Several weeks ago fire destroyed it for further use. Fisher decided to put the past behind him and build anew. First step was to get rid of the old charred shell that remained.

He tried to set fire to it, but it wouldn’t burn. He brought out a supply of gasoline-and then only after plenty of trouble was he able to burn down the rest of the structure.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 5, 2021 at 12:09 am

The caption of a photo of the Valley Theatre in Boxoffice of June 4, 1949 gives the original seating capacity as 420.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 5, 2021 at 12:12 am

The link in my previous comment is not opening on the proper page. The photo is on digital page 72.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 5, 2021 at 2:09 pm

The correct address of this house, now called the Elkhorn Valley Community Theatre, is 101 E. Gardiner Street. This is their web site, though it doesn’t have information about the theater building, only the theater group. Here is a Google street view. The building appears to be in very good condition.

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