Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lets go to the movies! The Rose Theater in Sumas, WA.

 Scanned with permission from original photograph in private collection.
This is a photograph of The Rose Theater which was located on the north side of  Garfield Street in between Cherry Street and Railroad Avenue.  As noted in the photograph it is facing south with Moe Hill in the background.  The picture was taken during wartime 1940s with the signage in front of the snowdrift reading "Military Area No. 1 Zone A Prohibited."  What does this mean?  Does anyone know why there would be a military area in Sumas?  Where was it and what was it for.  I would like some feedback on the subject. 
The theater was owned and operated by  Bruno Hollenbeck and his wife, Hildegarda.  Bruno was born in Germany May 12, 1900 and immigrated with his family in 1909.  He served in the Marines enlisting December 6, 1916.  He was only sixteen when he enlisted in the 94th Co., 7th Regiment, 6th Battalion  and served in Cuba as radio operator until 4-1-1919 (The source of this  information was found in in the World War 1 muster rolls.)
I found him in Sumas in 1929 owner of The Rose Theater according to the Whatcom County Business Directory.  It appears that He ran the 228 seats theater until March 1949, where according to an online source, he sold it to Mary Kost.   Mary changed the name  to the Lyric Theater.  However the town always knew it as the Rose Theater. 
Since selling the theater Bruno Hollenbeck and his family relocated to Seattle where he died September 15, 1969.
 I have enquired but haven't found anyone who can tell me when the theater closed.  I have talked to many people who remembers going to the movies as late as the early 1960s.  The building has long been gone and now the parking lot of Bromley's Market covers where many young people spent their evenings watching the stars and starlets of the silver screen.  
Tomorrow more about the Rose Theater and the movies it presented.


  1. I remember spending a lot of Friday and Saturday nites when we were grade school, there. Dave Adams

  2. Do you remember which movie's you saw there? Were they current released films of the time or were they older movies that were being reshown?