View photos from the Utah Theater’s past glory days and its ongoing destruction

The 104-year-old performance hall on Salt Lake City’s Main Street was an icon of the vaudeville days and was perhaps best known as a movie theater in the 1970s before it began to go to the wrecking ball.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The interior of the historic Utah Theater in Salt Lake City will be unveiled on Saturday, April 30, 2022 following recent demolition work.

Court filings Friday and Monday sought to make official that the demolition of the 104-year-old Utah Theater in downtown Salt Lake City has passed the point of no return.

With a demolition that began April 19 on the Main Street icon and is now well underway, attorneys for Hines, a global development firm, and the city’s redevelopment agency told a judge the issue of saving the theater was moot.

The historic performance hall, which opened in 1919 as a vaudeville venue and later became a popular movie theater in the 1970s, “was structurally damaged beyond repair,” testified Arthur Mackay, president of Grant Mackay Cos., the subcontractor for Hines Leading the demolition.

The destruction is now “irreversible,” Mackay said in court filings, “and the structure is simply beyond financial or physical repair.” Meanwhile, preservationists say they will take legal action against the city.

The Salt Lake Tribune compiled this photo gallery of some of the former Utah Pantages Theater’s past heydays and ongoing demolition.

(The Salt Lake Tribune) A large crowd fills the lobby of the Utah Theater in 1939.

Editor’s note This story is available only to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers. Thank you for supporting local journalism. View photos from the Utah Theater’s past glory days and its ongoing destruction

Joel McCord

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