By Mary Lou Egan
In Globeville’s early years, Washington Street hummed with small businesses— grocers, feed stores, barbers, blacksmiths, shoe repair shops, and billiard and soft drink parlors. For kids, the only building that mattered was the Cozy Theater.
Born in 1907, Andy Jackson recalled, “When we were kids, we used to go to the Cozy Theater. We’d pay a nickel to get in and a nickel to buy popcorn. An old Italian guy, Belfiore, had a popcorn wagon that was glassed in with a gas burner, and he’d sit there and shake it. He had a little teapot that he’d melt butter in. We’d go in there with a bag of popcorn in our hand. And Annie Peterson, she used to play the piano in there—they were silent movies, you know—and when she got excited by something that was happening on the screen, she’d beat the heck out of that piano.”
Born in 1909, Ed Wargin was another kid who loved going to the movies.
“They used to have these serials that would just keep goin’ and goin’ and so we would just keep goin’ and goin.’ ‘Ruth of the Rockies’ was the main feature with Ruth Roland. I remember that because we went all the time. Sometimes we’d go twice a week and see the same one. They weren’t open every day—it was Wednesday, Saturday, and I think Sunday. It seemed like vacation time for us kids. We had so much to do, but this was really special.”
The theater was one of the many properties owned by Konstanty Klimoski, and was originally located on the west side of 47th Avenue and Washington Street. It was later housed in a building farther north and across the street at 4836 Washington St. Jackson recalled, “It was a storefront kind of thing, not very big.”
The repeal of prohibition led to the demise of the Cozy Theater because Klimoski could make more profit from a saloon than from dime movies. 4836 Washington St. is an empty lot now, and the saloon and the theater are long gone. But the memories of Belfiore and his popcorn wagon, live music, and the drama of Western serials live on.
Mary Lou Egan is a fourth-generation Coloradan who loves history. You can reach her at email@example.com.