The Empress Theatre was built in 1914 for Mrs. Rantz and was the home of the first moving pictures shown in McBride. On opening night there were too many people to get in for the first showing. Because they did not have enough carbon for the lights to run a compete second showing of the movie, the first show was rather tight for space. The building itself featured a raised wooden boardwalk out front to ensure that patrons were not forced to walk in the mud. Young people figured out that this boardwalk was an easy way to stash their booze quickly. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, dance lessons were also offered in the theatre.
In 1927 Thomas Lloyd sold the building to the Goodman Supply Company, then bought it back in 1933 in an attempt to re-invigorate abandoned buildings during the depression. Lloyd had intended to put in living quarters for a caretaker but within two years, he had sold the building to the Elks. When the Elks bought the building, they were able to pay cash, and over the years, they made several improvements to it. This building is the second oldest public building still existing in McBride.
Photo: Valley Museum and Archives – 2006.02.34