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Mystic Theater

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1914, Guy Johnson, builder. Main St. between 1st and Railway sts.
  • (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)

The Mystic Theater was unusual among early North Dakota theaters because it was specifically intended for showing motion pictures. In 1914, one of the new settlers to Marmarth was Guy Johnson, a Nebraska-born professional baseball pitcher. Within two months, the diminutive Mystic Theater, measuring just 26 x 76 feet was dedicated. The stucco-clad facade features an elaborate galvanized-metal cornice with egg-and-dart and bead-and-reel moldings, paterae, and enriched consoles. The archivolt of the entrance arch is marked with fret banding, and the soffit is illuminated with a string of multicolored lights. From the lobby, enclosed quarter-turn stairways lead to a balcony that seats 20 people. The balcony has a curved railing with gilt-painted wooden balusters suspended from metal rods. The auditorium could seat 187 people. Even with the community’s dwindling population, the theater made the transition to sound movies in 1930, but it closed in the 1950s. In 1976, the Marmarth Historical Society restored and reopened the Mystic as a “working museum” serving a variety of local uses including public entertainment and town meetings.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "Mystic Theater", [Marmarth, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 179-179.

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