Tag Archives: Pueblo Deco architecture

Memories of New Mexico~Part 12

14 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

One of my fondest memories is of the old KiMo Theater (we pronounced it kee’-mo) in downtown Albuquerque. According to Google Search, it was built in 1927, and opened on September 19 of that year.

 

Credit Google Search and Daniel Schwen photographer

 

U.S. Route 66 was Central Avenue through Albuquerque, east to west, the main street through town. The KiMo Theater, located on Central Avenue, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties (credit Wikipedia).

 

Credit Google Search and On The Road with Jim and Mary

 

The KiMo Theater began to fall into disrepair after a stage fire in the early 1960’s, and the “exodus” of much of the downtown. The Theater was scheduled for demolition, but the city of Albuquerque bought the KiMo building in 1977, and restored it to its original glory. It is considered to be Pueblo Deco architecture style, which combines the Indian cultures of the Southwest with the flavor of Art Deco.

 

 

“The colorful Kimo building in downtown Albuquerque, done inside and out in Indian motif, is of interest to all new-comers.” Theatre Posts Credit Google search

According to Wikipedia, The word KiMo translated means “Mountain Lion” in the Tewa language. This word is also loosely translated to mean “king of its kind”….Due to the use of the name outside it’s native Tiwa culture, it is now a ‘dead’ word and is no longer used by native speakers.

I remember being fascinated by all the Indian symbols around the theater. The decorations were absolutely unique, and different from any other movie theater in town. I spent many movie hours in that theater.

 

Credit Google Search and Mark Bayes Photography

Credit Google Search and Alamy

Credit Google Search and Mygola

Credit Google Search and Trip Advisor

Credit Google Search and The wanderer.net

Credit Google Search and Getty Images

Credit Google Search

Credit Google Search and Trips Into History

Credit Google Search and Alamy

 

Although I don’t remember any mention of the theater being haunted, apparently KiMo has that reputation. Again, according to Wikipedia:

 For decades the KiMo has housed the spirit of a restless child. In August of 1951 a 6-year-old boy, Robert “Bobby” Darnall was attending a screening of an Abbott and Costello movie at the KiMo with his parents.

 Bobby was sitting in the balcony with friends when something on the screen frightened him. He ran down the stairwell just as a water heater or boiler in the basement under the lobby’s food concession counter exploded.

 More than a dozen people were injured in this accident. Bobby was rushed to a hospital but died en route.

 After his death his ghost returned to the KiMo theater. Bobby’s spirit quickly gained a reputation for impish behavior.

The KiMo Theater was beautifully restored in September, 2000 and is now a prime venue for concerts, civic events, and the performing arts. The theater’s resurgence represents the city’s recent upturn with new development and stores popping up throughout downtown. (Credit Cinema Treasures)

There has been a resurgence of “downtown” in many cities in recent years, and I’m glad to see it. Albuquerque wasn’t too large when I was young, and cruising “downtown” was one of our favorite things to do. It was especially fun at night – we would drive to the sand mesa to the west of town, turn around and drive slowly back to town, admiring the city lights all the time.

I was also in the Rainbow Girls organization, and our meetings were held in the Masonic Lodge, also located on Central Avenue, not far from the KiMo Theater.

 

 

I learned many years later that the Lodge had also been destroyed by fire. There was a lot of my history in downtown Albuquerque.

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

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