Trail Theatre

302 Main Street,
New Town, ND 58763

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Additional Info

Styles: Quonset Hut

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Trail Theatre

The town of New Town was built in 1954/1955 to replace the town of Van Hook which had been flooded to build the Garrison Dam. The Trail Theatre was a Quonset Hut style building which opened on September 12, 1952 with David Niven in “Happy Go Lovely”. It operated until the 1980’s or later.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

GaryParks on June 13, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Just an observation: It looks as if the vertical neon sign is older than the actual theater building. The building looks to be of 50s vintage—late 50s at that—but the sign looks to be of late 30s through 40s vintage. Perhaps there was an earlier Trail Theatre, at this location or another, and the sign was salvaged from the earlier building? The chocolate tones of both building and sign are of course from the 70s.

Chris1982 on July 14, 2014 at 3:28 am

The Qeunset Hut aurditorium would at least be a 1940’s build.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 14, 2014 at 2:08 pm

The Trail Theatre would not have opened until sometime the 1950s, as construction on New Town itself wasn’t begun until early that decade. New Town was built to replace three small towns that were inundated by Lake Sakakawea, the reservoir behind Garrison Dam. It’s possible that there was an earlier Trail Theatre in Van Hook, Legion Park, or Sanish, the towns drowned by the lake, and that its signage was moved to New Town.

This page at CinemaTour Forums has a photo of the back of the Trail Theatre, which shows that it was a bit unconventional for a quonset hut. Most quonsets have a semi-circular roof, but the Trail’s roof has a slight peak to it, like a Gothic arch. Perhaps this form made it easier for the roof to withstand North Dakota’s heavy snowfalls?

Chris1982 on July 15, 2014 at 8:49 am

You must be right because the Trail Theatre don’t show up in listings until 1955 seating 320.

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