Pomeroy Washington Downtown National Historic District

Historic District Downtown Building Inventory

Knettle Grand Theatre, Pomeroy Washington seen in 2021

The Knettle Grand Theatre Building, Summer, 2021

Knettle Grand Theatre (Site ID 28)

The Knettle Grand Theatre is a one-story brick building with a raised front parapet and stepped side parapet. The front elevation is embellished with dog-tooth bricks in the front parapet, and a central wooden folding garage door composed of vertical board panels on the lower portion and two light windows on the upper section (original ticket booth area). The door is flanked by large tripartite wood sash windows with wood panel bulkheads. The original transoms have been covered. Raised pilaster separate the bays on the west side, and a concrete foundation supports the building. The rear elevation facing the alley has six-over-six double-hung wood sash windows, freight and pedestrian doors, and a raised basement level. A ghost sign on the west elevation reads, "Caterpillar Tractor Combines Farm and Road Machinery," and also reads "Grande Theatre." The lot west of the building is vacant.

Nelson D. Knettle constructed The Knettle Grand Theatre circa 1905. Nancy Ann and Nelson Knettle were pioneers of Garfield County, settling on a land claim in 1877. They moved to Pomeroy in 1889 where Knettle became active in developing the town. He established one of the first theatres, owned the Knettle Bank for years, and was an agent for the Pacific Coast Elevator Company. He died in October 1926 and his wife died in 1929. The Knettle Grand Theatre advertised itself as offering "attractions at all times and will make a special effort to provide the best features of entertainment of the pioneers on the occasion of their annual picnic. We make a specialty of showing good pictures that will instruct and entertain (East Washingtonian, 1914)." In 1913 after Fred Norris retired, management of the theatre was turned over to Lee Matlock. According to the Sanbom Fire Insurance Map, the 40'x100' theatre was vacant in 1922. By 1930, the current 40'x120' structure housed a machine shop, workshop, and John Deere Caterpillar-Tractor owned by Roy Williams. Other businesses in the building included the Nez Perce Tractor Company owned by Cecil Slaybaugh, and Bartlow Harvester-Machine Shop (Bartiow, Fanning, and Lewis).

According to the Historic District nomination, Ed Fruh occupied the building at the time of the nomination.

Description and Cultural Data based on
research by Donovan & Associates

Washington's Birthday Message from February 1924, East Washingtonian

Washington's Birthday Message from February 1924, East Washingtonian


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The Committee gratefully acknowledges donations of time, photographs, scans, and other
assistance from the Garfield County Museum and individual citizens of Pomeroy and Garfield County.

The Pomeroy Historic Preservation Committee
66 South 7th Street
Pomeroy WA 99347


Copyright © 2002-2021 John R. Gordon