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Projector and sound system from Carlson Hall in Red Cliff, Colorado

With the beginning of EVLD's new film series this week, it's good to remember that communities have gathered to watch "movies" since the beginning of cinema in America. In the 1930s and '40s, before the theatre in Minturn, Red Cliff residents watched movies at Carlson Hall, now the site of the Green Bridge Inn (104 Water St.).  The hall had movable wooden platforms on which chairs were placed for movies but could be taken down in the event of a dance or dinner.  The heating system was a huge pot-belly stove on the left hand side of the room that heated the closest chairs...from there on, the room was rather frigid. The first movies were black and white and silent, with piano accompaniment.  The early sound films had large, flat records on which the sound was recorded.  Getting the film and the sound synchronized was a challenge.  As seen in the photo above, the projector and turntables took up a considerable space. Carlson Hall burned down in January 1944, when the temperature was 20 degrees below zero and most of the hydrants on this block were frozen.  Fire equipment from Camp Hale and Minturn arrived too late to save the building. The projection equipment was saved, however, and now may be viewed in the Red Cliff Museum.  It was manufactured by Motiograph, a successful producer, and a similar system may be seen in the New Castle Historical Museum (New Castle, CO), about sixty miles away.  Motiograph sales in Western Colorado appear to have been successful.

Motiograph Projector ca. 1916-1930


Carlson Hall did not burn down in 1944, it was the next two buildings down the street. I was there and helped fight the fire. I had just finished showing a movie in Carlson Hall and showed quite a few more after that. TR (Bud) Beck

Hi, Bud. I'd like to have your recollection about this. The newspaper account I have is probably in error. Jaci Jaci Spuhler, Local History/Archives Eagle Public Library, EVLD PO Box 240, 600 Broadway Eagle, CO 81631 970 328-8800

It was a dark and stormy night, not really, it waqs in fact a clear cold night. It was about 10 PM, the movie had just let out and I was in an apartment not far from the Hall, having a beer or two, when the fire alarm started going off. We`looked out and the street was full of smoke, we couldn't at that moment see the fire as it was just around the corner. The fire had started in a rooming house just down the street from the Hall, there was a vacant lot betwen the burning building and Carlson Hall. The`rooming house as well as a combination bar, soda fountain, barber shop and Sporting goods store were a complete loss. What litle water we had apparently mostly got on me because when I got home, about 1/4 mile down the street my coat was frozen shut so I had to stand by the kitchen range for a while to thaw out. I was not frozen internally because, as firemen we got first chance at the liquor stock of the bar. It was a whale of an occasion. Bud

Now, THAT's memorable, Bud! Jaci Spuhler, Local History/Archives Eagle Public Library, EVLD PO Box 240, 600 Broadway Eagle, CO 81631 970 328-8800

Hello, Do you have any contact information for the Red Cliff Museum? I did a quick google search but could't find anything. I am a collector of antique movie projectors and would like to talk to them about the projectors if possible. Best Regards, Tom Wilson

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