By Alanna Radle Rodriguez and Judge Rodriguez
Thank you for joining us once again as we delve into the history of this great state we call home, Oklahoma. Last month, we covered an overview of the history of the Capital Publishing Museum and some of its historical facts. This month we are covering the Historic Pollard Theater.
After the land-run, the site housed a wooden dry-goods store. The current building, being a structure made of local stone and local-made bricks, was built in 1901. It held The Patterson Furniture and a funeral parlor. Many of the cabinet makers at the time doubled as funeral parlors, as they had the access to the needed amounts of wood for the caskets. In 1919 George Pollard purchased the building, turning it into a vaudeville and silent movie house.
With the invention of “Talkies” (movies with an audio track) in 1926, the building was leased to A.R. Powell, who then renovated the building and decreased the size of the stage to accommodate the need for more viewing room. During the renovations, the Powell family added seating for up to 800 as well as putting in hand-painted murals and art-work. With the change of role in being turned in to a full sized movie theater, the theater underwent a name change as well. The theater was then called “The Melba Theater”.
The Powell family operated the Melba until the theater closed its doors in 1984. The building was renovated by Guthrie Arts & Humanities Council and changed back into a live venue. At the end of the renovations, the Pollard family took control of the building, and completed the renovations, turning the name of the theater back into the “Pollard Theater.”
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the theater and we recommend if you are ever in Guthrie, the time be taken to take in this historic treasure. Today, the Pollard Theater produces a yearly production of the Territorial Christmas Carol, among other productions throughout the year. If you would like more information on upcoming productions or even auditions, you can visit their website.
Thank you for joining us this month as we have looked into the Historic Pollard Theater. Join us next month as we delve into the history of other historic buildings in the city of Guthrie Oklahoma.
Born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, Alanna Radle Rodriguez is the great-great granddaughter of one of the first pioneers to settle in Indian Territory. Judge was born and raised in Little Axe, Oklahoma, the son of A.F. Veterans. Judge and Alanna love the history of the state and relish in volunteering at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond. Her second published story, part of a collaborative novella titled 18 Redbud Lane, is now available. Alanna and Judge live with her parents in the Edmond area. They are currently collaborating on a historical fiction series that takes place in pre-statehood Oklahoma.