Grove Theatre
Grove Theatre
Grove Theatre

Albert Vanwagoner, with his brothers, built this silent movie theatre, the Alhambra. They Razed their sister's Culmer Hotel at the back of the property. While building the theatre they flanked it with a small Luncheonette Cafe, to the north, leasing it to Lester Theobald, and a larger business building on the south, leasing it to Dixon Taylor Russell Furniture Store. Ironically, the first activity in the theatre was the September 1926 Utah County Republican Convention. Silent movies began showing shortly after that. Albert managed the theatre. Children's tickets sold for ten cents and adults twenty-five. From an orchestra pit below the stage a Mr. Moffit injected pipe organ sounds to enhance the action of the silent pictures projected on the screen, i.e., bells of a fire truck, train whistles, gun shots, horses hooves, thunder and rain, or doors slamming. In about three years movies with sound came out and Albert went further into debt to put in expensive sound equipment. Live entertainment also took place on stage in the theatre. The King Sisters, while still children, performed there. Harold and Dezzie Wootton purchased the theatre and Cafe after Albert declared bankruptcy during the Depression. They managed the theatre until John H. Miller. owner of two other theatres in north Utah Co., purchased the theatre in 1942. The Millers operated the theatre successfully for thirty plus years with Keith and Afton Miller as managers. They named it Grove theatre. In 1978 Joseph and Johanna Major purchased the theatre and held live productions and later operated it as a $1 movies theatre. Jeffery and Cathy Johnston purchased it in 1982 and named it Alhambra Playhouse and held live productions and later operated it as a $1 movie theatre. After sitting vacant for some years William and Suzanne Kirby purchased it and renamed - it Little London Dinner theatre in - 1999, and served dinners while patrons, who had paid $21.50, watched live productions. However, this dinner theatre operation was not successful, and the Western Community Bank foreclosed on the property in 2002.

In April 2003 Western Community Bank sold the building to Sterling Castle Corporation, terms unknown. Sterling Castle Corporation operated the subject as the Grove Theatre. However, this dinner theatre operation was not successful either, and Western Community Bank foreclosed on the property again in 2004.

Bill Tooke of Prudential Utah Real Estate has had the property listed for sale (without FF&E) since December 2004 with an asking price of $440,000 (not including FF&E, which is reportedly offered for sale separately). Tooke reports that he has presented the property to dinner theatre operators in the area, but such users haven't been interested due to the long and narrow layout of the building (with the kitchen behind the stage).

Tooke reports that he has received considerable interest in the property from general commercial users. Such users are reportedly not interested in retaining much of the customized dinner theatre build out or FF&E. Consequently, Tooke reports that these users would only be willing to pay considerably less that the current asking price.

According to Cody Black, the current listing agent, the property was listed approximately six months ago for $345,000. Mr. Black indicated that there have been three offers on the building, two of which were at the listing price. They both fell through because of financing. The third offer was for $400,000, with the party hoping to obtain extra cash for some remodeling. This offer was never completed as a sale because of financing.

To the best of our knowledge, with the exception of the foregoing, the property has not sold, been offered for sale, been placed under contract for sale, or received a purchase offer within the last three years.
The Grove Theatre Event Center 20 South Main Pleasant Grove, UT 84062
For more info on events, please call Stan at 801-809-2350.

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