The Nevada Theatre located in downtown Nevada City, California, is California's oldest still operating theater building west of the Mississippi River. With 240 seats on the main floor and additional balcony seating, the theater is in use year round for both live performance and movies.
The Nevada Theatre opened on September 11, 1865. Its construction commenced after the three-story Bailey House Hotel at Broad and Bridge Streets burned down in 1863. The Nevada Theatre Association began fundraising for the new theatre building with stock sold at $100 a share, and a ball held June 1865 to cover the remaining costs for the rustic vernacular Victorian building.
When the theater opened, the first performance was the John Poole two-act comedy entitled The Dutch Governor, or 'Twould Puzzle a Conjurer. Over the next several decades, celebrities such as Mark Twain, Jack London, and Emma Nevada appeared on the Nevada Theatre stage. Silent films were screened as early as 1908, and the theater underwent a remodel in 1909, retrofitted as a movie house. A slanted floor and electric lights were added in 1915. Closed in 1957, the theatre was later purchased through public donations and reopened May 7, 1968 to again serve the cultural needs of the community. California registered historical landmark no. 863.
Today, the Nevada Theatre, shepherded by the Nevada Theatre Commission, provides the community with an accessible, usable and valuable cultural asset.