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Pinedale Online > News > November 2018 > Skyline Theater project off to a reel-ly good start

Skytline Theatre. Photo by Main Street Pinedale.
Skytline Theatre
Historic photo of the Skyline Theatre on north Franklin Avenue in Pinedale.
Skyline Theater project off to a reel-ly good start
by Joy Ufford, Pinedale Roundup
November 30, 2018

PINEDALE, WYOMING – About a dozen history and film buffs met Tuesday evening, setting the scene to buy, renovate and revive the historic Skyline Theater building downtown and turn it into a uniquely local landmark.

The long-term project kicked off earlier this year with Main Street Pinedale’s announcement to fund-raise the building’s $170,000 purchase price, but concerns led to a brief suspension.

Picking it up with the Nov. 27 reorganizational meeting, former Main Street Pinedale’s board members Kate Dahl and Tara Bing Horn, along with about a dozen others, met at Sublette BOCES to talk about how to carry the project forward on its own.

With the draft business plan, preliminary renovation estimates, Facebook page, promotional video and an intent to purchase already in place, the immediate goals are to firm up the fundraising campaign and outline the process.

The old Skyline Theater at 14 N. Franklin Ave. was operated from 1940 into the 1980s when it closed. Walt Sondgeroth bought it and opened as Walt’s Plumbing in 1986. While the exterior is simple, Walt’s son Joe saved many of the memorabilia and everyday theater items – even old metal film reels and the original popcorn machine. Outdoorsy backlit silhouettes that once lined the walls are also in storage.

At Tuesday’s meeting, historian and author Ann Chamber Noble offered use of "her" 501(c)3 nonprofit, Sublette Group for Community Initiative, of which she and her daughter Andrea are board members. Both agreed to create a new board to make the Sublette Group the financial and decision-making entity for the Skyline Theater project.

This nonprofit will receive and hold all of the donations and grants, whether from local or corporate donors.

Noble remains president, Tara Bing Horn is vice president, Synve Mitchell is secretary and Kate Dahl is treasurer. The next topic was to kick off a timely campaign to buy the building and provide matches for future grants. After buying the old theater, it could take as much as $1 million to renovate the Skyline Theater into a multi-faceted entertainment center showing second-run, documentary, outdoor adventure and independent films, holding live performances and hosting local nonprofit events. Educational elements might be displays of the antique equipment, old photographs and stories about how Skyline fit into locals’ lives. Mary Lynn Worl, for example, related that on its opening two girls wearing white cowboy boots and hats served as "ushers."

Now, the Skyline Theater has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.

Fundraising is the new committee’s most important objective, they decided, with donation mailers, a crowd-funding platform and special campaign to engage donors.

To be tax-exempt, donations should be made to the Sublette Group for Community Initiative with "Skyline Theater" noted.

Bringing volunteers together is also vital, they said. Anyone with interests and abilities to help with fundraising, grant writing, event planning, public relations, programming, project management and construction is welcome to join the Skyline Theater committee at the next meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. at the Museum of the Mountain Man.

For more about the Skyline Theater project, contact Kate Dahl at

The Skyline Theatre (original spelling) was built on the site of Pinedale’s founder John F. Patterson’s home, which it replaced. It opened in September of 1940 and upon its opening, the Pinedale Roundup reported Aug. 29, 1940:
"The beautiful interior is indirectly lighted from each side of the upper portion of each wall. Silhouettes depicting mountain scenery, winter sports, hunting and fishing and other recreational facilities adjacent to Pinedale, lend local color to the interior decorations. A raised floor and comfortable furniture makes theatre going a pleasure. Acoustics are excellent, as the building was designed for sound equipment."

This new movie house was said to be a large improvement over the wooden benches and folding chairs at Wilson Hall, where movies had shown for the previous 14 years. It opened with 375 seats.

A story in the Pinedale Roundup dated Dec. 31, 1953, was titled "Hayes Buys Skyline Theatre" reported Joseph "Joe" Beal Lunbeck (Nov. 16, 1916 to Aug. 14, 2003) and his wife Madeline Adney Bolinger Lunbeck, who died in 2007, owned and operated the Skyline Theatre for 18 years. Alice M. Bolinger was a longtime employee of the Skyline Theatre who was fondly known as "the ticket lady" for that reason.

Printed on Friday, November 30, 2018 in the Pinedale Roundup. Reprinted with permission.

Pinedale Online > News > November 2018 > Skyline Theater project off to a reel-ly good start

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