Majestic Theatre: an historical treasure.
A rural, wood frame "Boomtown" style of theatre, Bashaw's Majestic Theatre was not the first of its kind to be built in Alberta but is now believed to be the last remaining theatre of its kind in western Canada. Never a "grand theatre" by any means, the Majestic is nonetheless, of historical and architectural significance as part of the overall history of theatre development in Alberta. Built in 1915, the Majestic serves as one indicator of Alberta's early settlement history and has been home to magic lantern shows, local theatre productions, silent movies, and early "talkies". Serving as Bashaw's first Catholic Church for a time, the theatre resumed its role as modern movie theatre in the 1940's when it was renamed the 'Dixy'.
The exterior of the building, now restored to its ca 1930 façade, replicates a photograph from the same time period, and with the possible exception of white paint, is how the theatre would have looked in 1915. Likely built by Eugene Bashaw, founder of the Town of Bashaw, at the request of Mrs. Ella Wing of Ponoka who acquired the property in 1913, local theatrical productions, 'concerts' and other social events were held in the buildings as were traveling 'magic lantern' shows which pre-dated 'silent film' era technology. Purchased by a local projectionist, the building opened its doors as the Majestic Theatre in June of 1921. The first known silent film shown in the theatre was a Paramount Art Craft film starring Ethel Claymore in 'More Deadly Than the Male', accompanied by a Max Sennett comedy film and the very next week the first movie version of 'Last of the Mohicans' was entrancing local audiences.
Founded in 1998, the Friends of the Majestic Theatre Society is a registered non profit organization whose goal is to preserve and restore the old Majestic Theatre as a self sustaining working theatre museum. As part of this endeavor, the Majestic Players, an amateur theatre group came into being to assist in fundraising efforts. Acquired from the Town of Bashaw in 1998, by 2000, the Majestic was designated an Alberta Registered Historical Resource as well as a Government of Canada Millennium Bureau of Canada Project. Working in partnership with dozens of local and non local volunteers as well as corporate provincial and federal supporters, the Majestic Theatre Restoration Project is now in its final phase, which involves interior restoration and development. Restored and re-integrated back into the community as a working live theatre museum, the Majestic will once again serve its original function which was to bring rural and urban people of all ages, backgrounds and genders together in pursuit of a richer cultural and social community life.
If you would like to help the Majestic Theatre resume its rightful and historical place in this community and within the province of Alberta, please contact the Friends of the Majestic Theatre Society in Bashaw, Alberta. Membership in the Society is open to everyone. Through your assistance and involvement, the Majestic Theatre Project will continue to play a role in the community, economic and tourism development, promoting Bashaw to the world outside our boundaries.
The Bashaw Fire Hall Museum
The Fire Hall was built in 1914, at which time the community had purchased a waterous motor driven wagon mounted fire pumper unit, which was in service for the town until 1958, when it was replaced by a new modern fire truck.
The Fire Hall Building served many purposes over the years. In the early years village council meetings were held there. The person village constable had a small living quarters in the back of the building, and kept the building heated. One room served as provincial Court house, also the prison cells are still in their original state. One of the cells was also used as a dog pound, with the door still showing the evidence of a dog attempting to chew his way out.
In later years, office space was occupied by RCMP. The public library was also housed in the building for a number of years, as well as a barber shop for many years.
The floor was lowered in front of the building to accommodate the new fire truck, which during the restoration of the fire hall to a museum, the floor was returned to its original level, with the water reservoir underneath in its original state.
The museum society is a registered society, and is a member of Museums Alberta society.
Our theme is the history of our community protection to persons and property.
We truly invite and encourage anyone with any information and/or artifacts that would compliment our museum, to please contact us.
The last man to be hanged in Alberta was held in the cell of the Bashaw Fire Hall, after he was captured approximately one half mile south of Bashaw.
Bashaw Fire Hall Museum Society