The Historic Park Theatre is distinctive for several reasons – one, it is the oldest operating movie theater in the United States! Two, its impressive, eighty foot tower dominates downtown Estes Park. Three, it’s haunted.
Any movie buff ought to do themselves a favor by catching a movie at the Park Theatre. It’s a gorgeous, slightly funky building with a unique projection system – the projector is located across the lobby from the theater, and the picture is projected through two windows.
On display in the lobby is an antique projector and some old movie memorabilia, and the theater still has the original seats. (Not the most comfortable, but not horribly uncomfortable, either. It’s historic, people!)
The Historic Park Theatre is supposedly haunted by former owner and projectionist, Ralph Gwynn, who built the tower as a symbol of the the woman who jilted him at the altar – all beauty outside, and hollow inside. Although we’ve never experienced his ghostly presence, we have friends who’ve worked here and can tell you some pretty creepy stories! Gwynn’s apartment was behind the screen in the theater, and that’s where he died. Of course it’s haunted!
There is a small concession stand with the usual movie theater fare. The same family has been running the theater for many years, so be sure to have a chat with them if you want to know more about the history of the place.
It should be noted that while the theater is wheelchair accessible, the restrooms, located in the basement, are not. Also, they charge a bit more for credit card purchases.
Check the Historic Park Theatre website for information on show times, wedding packages, tours, and how to donate to their historic preservation effort. It is open in the summer only, and has one screen.
Contact The Historic Park Theatre
130 Moraine Ave
Estes Park, CO 80517