1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Fire Truck Or Theater?

Barry Worrell - November 25, 2016

Another great photo on the Face Book page the Town Of Alderson. Message: "Thanks to Thomas Dameron for bringing this shot of Alderson Engine 1 aka the A model to me from in front of Russell Theatre on 12/24/1940. Obviously the crowd was more impressed with the first mechanized fire engine than they were the free movie! Photo taken by James Russell.

Note the improvised 1.5" attack line carrier that was the ingenuity of then Fire Chief Richard Ford. No doubt the infamous "Alderson fire thread" on that larger hose as well."

If I had been a little older in 1940, it's very possible I would have been as interested in the new fire truck as the crowd in the photo. But from my view now in 2016, it's the theater that has captured my attention.

This is the only picture of the Alderson theater I've seen as an operating theater, but I wasn't prepared for it's appearance. The building's front is an unusual design, looking nothing like it did during the 1950s.

The first thing that caught my eye was the name, "Russell Theatre" painted across the front. Secondly, on the marquee of the theater is a poster advertising the 1940 movie, Boom Town - Staring Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert, and Hedy Lamarr. Third, the two high arches open into an lobby where in the center is what appears to be an ornately designed ticket booth. On each side of the booth, two more movie posters.

I was about one and a half when I moved to Alderson, but my first memories of the theater was the large edge lighted canopy  that was attached to the front of the building and the name was "Alpine". Around 1941 the front of the building was sealed off, canopy added, and became a member of the Alpine Theater circuit.

I also thank Tom Dameron making the photo available.

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