Entertainment has evolved through the years in Rifle
Terri Potter, who grew up in Rifle as Terri Jolley, remembers rollerskating at the Moose Lodge when she was a kid.The Moose Lodge had wood floors, and they would let you rollerskate there, Terri said. We all had skates with wooden wheels. Oh I know Im dating myself.How Rifleites entertain themselves has evolved over the years and seen several outlets for a good time come and go.
Mary Jane Mead, who is quite a bit older than Terri, remembers rollerskating at the IOOF Hall before there was skating at the Moose Lodge.The IOOF Hall was the center of Rifles social life for many years. Mary Jane suspects her parents may have met at a dance in the IOOF Hall in the 1920s.Shes sure her grandparents, James Estes and Maude Taughenbaugh, did meet at a dance. But that was probably a dance at the little red Beaver Creek Schoolhouse in the days when Rifle seemed liked a long trip from atop the mesa and there wasnt much going on in town yet.For a good time on sunny days, Mary Jane remembers going up Beaver Creek to picnic.
One avenue of entertainment Rifle residents have been able to count on for a much of the towns history is the cinema. The first picture show in Rifle started in 1911 in the Odd Fellows Hall. It was called the Majestic, according to Rifle Shots, by the Rifle Reading Club. The theater could hold 200 and had wood floors, which were used for dancing after the second show. A woman played piano to go along with the action in the movie. Charles Hickman bought the theater in 1913 and ran it until he took over the Rex Theater on West Third Street. That building was used as a community center for several years, hosting plays, dances and high school graduations. It was a profitable business and Jesse Wells, who built the theater, bought it back.In 1930, sound movies appeared in Rifle. The tin ceiling and the walls in the building were covered with acoustical felt. In 1934, the Community House opened in Rifle Mountain Park. Though its a good half-hour to 45-minute drive from Rifle, the Community House has been host to countless events, dances and parties through the years a popular place to hold a bash. The Ute Theater opened on East Third Street in 1935. A major fire nearly destroyed it in 1944, which prompted the owners, Fred and Mary Lind, to buy some land on East Fourth and build a swanky new theater. They completed the new Ute and opened for business in 1948. The theater has since been renamed and is now the Rifle Creek Theatre the only place in Rifle to watch new releases, and one of the only places that still has a big single screen.
The Chief Drive-in Theater, three miles east of town, opened in 1950.Even without organized fun, Rifle residents knew how to have a good time. Marilyn Ukele remembers searching for a good parking spot on Third Street when she was younger. On Saturday nights, people would wonder up and down the streets visiting with each other and crawling in and out of friends cars for chats.There was always a dance downtown on Saturday nights, but this wasnt about the dances. People just got together and visited, Marilyn said. People dont visit like that anymore.
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