Carlsbad Current-Argus from Carlsbad, New Mexico on July 6, 2008 · 11
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Carlsbad Current-Argus from Carlsbad, New Mexico · 11

Carlsbad, New Mexico
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 6, 2008
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Inside Today's Living Section: Community Calendar PACE 4B Engagements, I Suniav Gisswurvl, : births and wedJings Columns " Crossword Pick Starrinc on Page 2B Inside PAGE SB 1 151 ! Sunday ! July 6, 2008 Current-Argus Vv w PAGE7B UJNDAY JUV1JNU Charming homes and their needs When moving to Carlsbad a few years ago, my beloved took me on a househunting expedition. We saw many lovely homes, as well as a few not-so-lovely ones. I particularly remember one that had a waterline all around the interior walls about six inches from the floor. A quick exchange of glances confirmed we were both thinking along the same lines: NO! We eventually settled on a charming, centrally-located older home, or, as I now refer to it, The Museum of Broken Things. Yes, the wood floors are still lovely,' the thick plaster walls look good and the stone fireplace 7 is function- fOOtnoteS Jl al. The 1930s-era plumbing and wiring, f , 1 1 though ... well, not so charming. Even after upgrading some of the Beth wiring' we . T. still blow Nieman fuses if we try . to microwave our lunch while drying a load of clothes. The water pipe for the washing machine is routed through a glass window in the cellar. Right through the window pane. I don't think Norm Abrams would approve. When we bought the house, we discovered about 80 percent of the casement windows were painted shut, and now I know why. The paint is the only thing keeping the dust out. If you loosen the paint and crank a window open, the crank's gears strip and you have to use one of those suction-cup dent pullers (made for automobiles) to get a grip on the window pane and pull it shut. Charming! Well, I'm sure we're not the only homeowners in town who experience the frustrations of maintenance and repair Fortunately, the library has a large collection of books for "charming" homes like mine. David Shapiro has written two helpful books, "Old Electrical Wiring" and "Your Old Wiring." His focus is first on safety, while giving the homeowner advice on everything from replacing a light switch to determining whether a complete rewiring job is the right thing to do. For those struggling with leaking pipes and clogged drains, you might enjoy reading "Flushed: How the Plumber Saved Civilization," by W. Hodding Carter. To say that Carter has a passion for plumbing is an understatement. His idea of a good time is taking a vacation trip to London for a guided tour of the sewer system, which he describes in detail. By the time you reach the end of his humorous and interesting book, you'll have a new appreciation for the Romans and their aqueducts, high-tech Japanese bathroom fixtures and the plumbers who make living indoors with running water possible. Do you need some inspiration for your next home improvement project? Carlsbad Public Library has a large DVD collection with ideas for remodeling every area of your home, including kitchens, bathrooms, outdoor projects, lighting and flooring; we also have many Uo-it-yoursolf books available, Both Nlimin Is public tirvlcil llbnrlin it Cirlibid Publll Library. i 1 1 - - ,-JUn- y m ' i n II . U c r. I i 0 0 0 o 0 ' 4 )' r! 1 W fei - f W P'H I f .jo f 1 I 8 1 o n I i V J Q i i Q 9 ft- Tk r M t ' f , m mar-ft tMMMfl laxcaiD mniaiuTi irecaiDDs HflDe DunaiisDe tfttHue mmottOcDDD DDOcttoore DDdiisOEnxess A t the age of 87, Bill Bartlett ' A knows everything there is to h VAknow about movie theaters. It's how he, his father Ray and grandfather C.W. Bartlett made a living. Today, there is one walk-in theater, the Mall Cinema, with three movie screens and one drive-in, Fiesta, with three movie screens in Carlsbad. Although not all operating at the same time, there have in the past been an additional six walk-in theaters and two drive-ins in Carlsbad. In the state of New Mexico, there are only four operating drive-ins and 35 dead drive-ins, according to a Web site called "Welcome to the Drive-In Theater." Those operating drive-ins are the Fiesta Drive-In in Carlsbad, the Apache Drive-In in Farmington, Fort Union Drive-In in Las Vegas and 85 Drive-In in Raton. The first movie theater in Carlsbad was the Crawford Theater located in the Crawford Hotel, owned and operated by A.J. Crawford. Bartlett believes it was on the corner of Mer-mod and Canal streets. His grandfather was working for Crawford at the time, "My grandfather ended up with the theater," Ihrtlctt said, Shortly Ihereafier, a nuin by the name of R E, Gnll'ith came to town specifically to build a movie theater, Instead of competing with (inll'uh, - Bartlett Bartlett's grandfather and father made a deal with him and a local partnership was formed. "Griffith was really a good guy and a promoter deluxe," Bartlett said, noting that the Bartletts' Artesia theater inter ests were kept independent. Bartlett's father played the piano for the silent films at the Majestic Theater in Artesia from 1924 to 1927. If his memory serves him right, his father played by sheet music instructions that accompanied the films. "My dad did that until they got sound with the talking pictures," he said, noting the Majestic later became the Ocotillo Theater. The Land of the Sun Theater was opened in 1948. Bartlett also had the Valley Theater and Hcrmosa and Circle "B" drive-ins running at different times in Artesia, The partnership built the Cactus Theater in Carlsbad. It opened in 1934, and the theater in the Craw, ford Hotel became the Crystal Ballroom, he explained, "The Cactus burned in 1962, That wus the theater," Bartlett said. It was located at 1 1 5 S, Canal in the vacant lot today used for parking south of the Jefferson Montessori Academy. In 1939, they built the Tower Theater at 210 S. Canyon on the block where Wells Fargo Bank is located today. The Tower closed around 1958. "I spent more time selling popcorn than anything else," he said, noting there was money to be made in popcorn. When Bartlett returned from World War II, the Eddy Theater was built in 1946. It closed down in the mid-50s. It was located at 315 S. Canal where Courtesy Pawn is today. The Corral Theater opened in 1946 at 105 S. Canyon where the Pecos River Antique Mall is today. It was shut down in 1951, when the Cavern Theater, 201 N. Canyon, opened its doors. "The Corral was the original Cavern Theater. When we took it over we changed the name to Corral," Bartlett said, noting he became manager of the theaters in 1948. In the late '40s and early '50s, drive-in theaters became popular, The advertising campaign boasted no babysitter, come as you are and a good concessions stand, he said. Many folks referred to drive-ins as "passion pits." Sometimes the own m would find speakers on city street that had been ripped oil when moviegoers left the drive-in. "The concession stands did really well, but we had to have a good picture to get a good crowd," he said. When the Corral Theater closed in 1951, they opened the Corral Drive-in on the Artesia Highway, located in front of where New Mexico State University-Carlsbad is today. It closed in 1955. The Fiesta Drive-In, 401 Fiesta Drive, was built in 1948. It is still operating today under different ownership. The Big Sky Drive-In was built in 1960 and closed in 1980. It was located on the acreage where Wal-Mart sits today. "We didn't build the Big Sky. We took it over from Charlie Wolfe in the early '70s," Bartlett said. "They (theaters) were doing good until TV. That ruined us," he said, noting the downfall began around 1954. Bartlett met and married Carlsbad native Mary Ellen High, Sheriff Bill High's daughter, in 1956, Th Cac tus, Cavern and Fiesta were the onh theaters operational at that time, Bartlett thought it would be fun to compare the price of admission and popcorn in the mid-1940s to prices today, In 1946, admission to the the-uters was 10 cents for ages 12 and S MOVIES, IV 8R tuylwVi!citorimt 11 SmU tctliol iHivntAit'm 1 h(t( submittal Living Saturn Mitor: Uuim.i H.irt-Nord.strom (575) 628-5514 chart cutn-ntiirmis.cotn

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