Two benevolent spirits from the building’s past have made this theatre their home.
The sharp-looking, Historic Atlas Theatre is a Victorian style, 3 story brick building with a lovely wooden and plaster facade, complete with bay windows, decorative tiles across the front, and handsome elongated windows. In its auditorium, on the first floor, this small theatre holds 404 seats. It is used for stage theatre all the time now. I bet the second and third floors are used for classes, workshops, props/costumes, auditions, storage, offices and any other use which results in the support of the high quality product seen on stage.
This building was constructed in 1887. The first floor was a tea and candy shop, while the second and third floor were used as offices. It didn’t become an “entertainment center” until 1908. In 1907, Cheyenne architect William Dubois was hired to transform the first floor into a 404 seat theater, which offered a reasonably priced vaudeville venue, showcasing singing and dancing to the common folk in this musical format. The Atlas Theatre closed in 1929. It was transformed by Publix Chain, into a movie theatre, under the name of The Strand, opening a few months later.
After 1929, The Strand struggled to make money, closing and opening again several times. It was closed for good in the mid 1950s. In 1961, it was transformed into a live music and bar venue, called The Pink Pony Nightclub, which only lasted 2 years in business.
By 1971, the building needed some TLC, and in need of restoration and renovation. Fortunately, like many small theatres in the USA; (National Pastime * The Washington Opera House), it was saved by a community theatre organization, looking for a venue to present their melodrama efforts. After they had leased the building for 5 years, The Cheyenne Little Theatre Players bought the building, rescuing it from it’s downhill slide, with the support of the community. One of the first things they accomplished was to get their theater on The National Register of Historic Places in 1973, giving it some protection from future owners who may have wanted to tear it down.
Throughout the following years, they have been steadily restoring this historic gem, as well as performing their thespian projects on the theatre’s stage all year long. As of Feb., 2008, a full scale renovation is planned in order to not only improve such basics as the heating and air-conditioning, but also to create a black box theater and art gallery on-site, probably on the upper floors.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Larry, leader of the paranormal investigation group, CREEPS, (Case Research in Paranormal & Supernatural), located in Cheyenne, told hauntedhouses.com, that no one seems to remember why this theater is haunted, or only can give bits and pieces, though he did find one person who told him a story of murder and suicide, which no one else knew or would confirm. This story is doubtful, and probably isn’t true, as it doesn’t qualify even as a town legend.
This story tells the drama of a preacher who had opened a church in the theater building. His wife moon-lighted as a prostitute in a brothel located on the other side of the street. She would sneak through a tunnel which supposedly ran under 16th street. When the preacher found out about his wife’s recreational activities, he killed her in a rage, and hung himself in the theater.
However, the fact remains that there are two lost souls hanging around this building. These two unknown entities could’ve come from any of the time periods of this building’s existence. Most entities who hang around theatre buildings have such a strong attachment to the building for a variety of reasons that they can’t let go of this world to pass on to the other side.
Performers or wanna-be performers in the arts who yearn for the stage:
Conscientious employees or owners: Patrons who truly loved their time in the building, enjoying the performances:
Spirits of Two Theatre Enthusiasts!
It has been reported that two unknown entities actively make themselves known to the living.
Perhaps they play with the electricity, move items around the theatre, play little tricks on the living for chuckles, and perhaps even find ways to help!
Perhaps they watch the players rehearse, or keep an eye on the staff.
Yes indeed, according to word-of-mouth, and a recent paranormal investigation, completed on Sept. 19th, 2008 by Larry’s investigation group, CREEPS [Dead Link], (Case Research in Paranormal & Supernatural). These investigators caught EVPs on tape and found orbs in their pictures. One EVP sounded like a man giving instructions in a flat, emotionless voice. Some of the orbs were thought to be probably just dust, but one or two were really bright, and are evidence of entities hanging around the building. CREEPS Youtube Video.
Actual visual sightings of these entities may happen in the future. Renovations usually stir up paranormal occurrences, and as the theatre is scheduled for a 5 year renovation plan, the joint may be jumping with paranormal activity!
211 W. 16th Street
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001
In the historic downtown, The Atlas Theatre can be found one block west down the street from The Plains Hotel, near the intersection of W. Lincoln Way and Capitol Avenue, sandwiched in between two other businesses, sharing outer walls with these two other stores. The cross streets are Capitol Avenue and Carey Avenue
Half way down W. Lincoln way, it changes mysteriously into W. 16th Street, so don’t be confused!
- Hauntedhouses.com e-mail source – Larry of CREEPS – (Case Research in Paranormal & Supernatural).
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr