We've recently wandered down a historical road. I’m talking way down. Beyond the likes of Google and Wikipedia. We went to a place that can only be discovered through actual books and microfilm machines. What’s a microfilm machine? Yeah, that’s what I said too. Running one was tricky, as I kept trying to swipe to the next page, then realizing I needed to manually roll the film to get there.
Let me explain.
Heather (founder of Art of Vintage) has recently discovered, through the help of friends and family, the old neon Theatre sign from her hometown of Eston, Saskatchewan. This gem hung proudly for nearly six decades.
Upon this discovery, we decided to do some digging. What was the history behind this sign and the building it once belonged to? We started to pick local brains. Heather’s dad, Kenny, naturally being the first as he has a mind of a steel trap.
Kenny recalled going to the theatre as a young boy at the ripe age of nine. This would have dated the theatre back to at least 1938.
After some further investigations (we’re so CIA), we discovered that the theatre was born sometime in the 1920’s. It was managed by a young couple Clay and Beatrice Kiser, who were outstanding citizens of Eston and were involved in all projects and organizations that contributed to the betterment of the town.
In 1944, it was sold to another young couple, Saul and Anne Stone, who managed the theatre for 11 years. During that time, they did extensive renovations inside and outside of the theatre. It is speculated that this is when the neon sign was erected. This sign shone bright for years of happy moviegoers.
It was in 1991 that the beloved Eston Theatre showed it’s final film.
Later in the 90’s there was town talk to refurbish the theatre for use as a gallery and performing arts venue. Sadly, the theatre was beyond repair and was demolished in 2002.
Here is the sign that still lives on today:
If you're interested in this iconic sign valued at $5,500, please contact Heather at 403.660.6852.
And for some cheeky 1930’s cinema, check out the Best of Mae West, who was starring in a film playing at Eston’s Theatre on February 12th, 1936.
Special thanks to Pam Beckstrand, Kenny Oliphant, Clare Oliphant and all the wonderful townies of Eston who made this history hunt possible.