See photos from the Utah Theater’s past glory days and its ongoing demolition

The century-old performance hall on Salt Lake City’s Main Street was an icon of the vaudeville days and might be best known as a movie house through the 1970s before it began to fall to the wrecking ball.

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

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

With a razing that started April 19 on the Main Street icon now well underway, attorneys for Hines, a global development firm, and for the city’s Redevelopment Agency told a judge the issue of saving the theater was moot.

The historic performance hall, which fully opened in 1920 as a vaudeville venue and later morphed into a popular movie house through the 1970s, “has been structurally compromised beyond repair,” testified Arthur Mackay, president of Grant Mackay Cos., the subcontractor for Hines leading the demolition.

The razing is now “irreversible,” Mackay said in court motions, “and the structure is simply beyond financial or physical repair.” Historic preservationists, meanwhile, say they will fight on in legal actions against the city.

The Salt Lake Tribune has assembled this photo gallery of some of the former Utah Pantages Theatre’s past heyday and ongoing demolition.

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

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