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Salt Lake City’s Pantages Theater nominated for historic landmark status

Salt Lake City — After decades in the dark, the lights are starting to come back on for Utah’s grandest movie palace. The Utah Pantages Theater is set to officially become historic as it is nominated for the National Historic Registry. A division of the National Park Service, the National Register of Historic Places catalogs and documents America’s historic treasures and encourages strong preservation and restoration through historical tax credits. The Capitol Theater and Kearns Building next door to the Pantages has been listed on the registry since 1976 and 1982, so the addition of 1918 ornate and massive Utah Pantages is long overdue. It also finally settles the long debate of whether anything in the theater was worth saving or if it was still historic with the many renovations it has seen throughout the last century.

In February of this year, Michael Valentine, co-founder of SavetheUtahPantages.org, personally hired Kirk Huffaker of Preservation Strategies to help finally put the Pantages on the National Register of Historic Places. Kirk was the Director of Preservation Utah for over two decades and has extensive expertise in Utah’s historic treasures. He worked closely with Cory Jensen of Utah’s State Historic Preservation Office to do a preliminary check to see if the theater would still be eligible and if so, in what ways. They put together a report and sent that out to the federal level and quickly got back word that yes, the Pantages was of course eligible and in several different periods of significance. The full application has now been finished and submitted and the theater will finally be historic on the national level with the rest of America’s important places and architecture.

Valentine also submitted an application for the Pantages to become a Salt Lake City Landmark.

“The landmark status offers protection in a way the National Registry does not,” Valentine says, on behalf of the organization. “The theater can’t be torn down without good reason and approval of the Historic Landmark Commission. The truth is our historic treasures need to be protected and honored. Officially and with great pride. Not just for us, but for the whole nation. Not just for now but for the generations that come after us. The Pantages is going to be 300 years old one day, and today we begin that wonderful future by protecting and keeping our places safe and secure.”

For more information, readers can visit www.SaveTheUtahPantages.org.