Wilma Theatre (Missoula, Montana)

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The Wilma
Missoula, Montana - Wilma Theater.JPG
Front of the theater
Address 131 South Higgins Avenue
Missoula, Montana
United States
Capacity 1,400
Current use cinema and events venue
Opened 1921


Wilma Theatre
Wilma Theatre (Missoula, Montana) is located in Montana
Wilma Theatre (Missoula, Montana)
Wilma Theatre (Missoula, Montana) is located in the US
Wilma Theatre (Missoula, Montana)
Coordinates 46°52′8″N 113°59′43″W / 46.86889°N 113.99528°W / 46.86889; -113.99528Coordinates: 46°52′8″N 113°59′43″W / 46.86889°N 113.99528°W / 46.86889; -113.99528
Architect H.E. Kirkemo, Ole Bakke
Architectural style Chicago
NRHP Reference # 79001407
Added to NRHP December 31, 1979[1]

The Wilma was built in 1921 by William "Billy" Simons and dedicated to his wife, light opera artist Edna Wilma. Designed by Norwegian architect Ole Bakke and his assistant H. E. Kirkemo, the steel-framed highrise features hallmarks of Sullivanesque architecture.[2] Wilma is part of an eight-story complex that was the first steel-framed high-rise building in Missoula, and includes the main 1400-seat hall, a lounge, three banquet rooms, a restaurant, apartments and offices. The theater interior is decorated with Louis XIV Style gilt trim.[3]

The Wilma's original theater organ was replaced in the 1950s with a Robert Morton organ from the Orpheum Theater in Spokane, Washington,[4] which had been torn down in 1958.[5]

As originally built, the basement housed a swimming pool, the "Crystal Plunge". Condensation proved incompatible with the structure, and the pool closed within ten years. It now serves as additional storage space.[4]

The Wilma now shows a diverse range of entertainment, including independent movies, spoken word events, live and local music, plays, and other events.

The Venue is equipped with a full PA system and stage monitors with Yamaha M7 consoles at the core, as well as a secondary PA for use with the main movie screen. The Wilma also employs a full theater lighting system with PAR and Leko fixtures, and six Martin Mac 500 automated moving head fixtures. The lighting is controlled by a Pearl 2000 console.


  1. ^ National Park Service (April 15, 2008). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Mathews, Allan James. A Guide to Historic Missoula, page 82. Montana Historical Society. 2002. [1]
  3. ^ "Wilma Theatre History". The Wilma Theatre. October 30, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Wilma (Missoula) Theatre History". Puget Sound Theater Organ Society. October 30, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Spokane's grand old theaters". Inland Northwest History. The Spokesman-Review. October 30, 2008. 

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