Our History Team Vision

The Chief theater A Steamboat Springs Landmark

The Chief Theater was built in 1926 by Mark Schafermeyer, who owned the property and deeded it to local visionary “Chief” Harry Gordon for $25,000, according to Paul Van Horn, whose father managed the Village and Time Square Cinemas. Harry was a descendant of the Miami tribe. 

Harry Gordon hired Arthur E. Gumprecht, a well-known local builder to oversee the theater’s construction. The original single-story building had a seating capacity of 500, and was acclaimed to be the largest theater in Northwest Colorado.

Opening in early 1927, the Chief Theater was Steamboat Springs’ second motion picture house and the first to feature “talkies.” Said to be a cultural center from the beginning, the Chief Theater stands as a tribute to the town’s cultural legacy.

American Indian art that used to cover all of the theater’s walls. It was created by local artist Bob Smith. The murals that graced the walls were four scenes, now hidden by the remodels, including a Native American woman doing beadwork, two Native Americans engaged in a snake ritual, Native Americans hunting in vast open plains and two masked Native Americans engaged in a tribal dance.The concession stand was called the ‘Kiva,’ in Indian it meant the meeting place,” 

Bought by Mike Barry in 1970, throughout the 1980s until 2010, the Chief was not a multi-use theater but housed a four-plex movie theater operated by Mike Barry. It wasn’t until summer 2013 that the venue was revived by the nonprofit Friends of the Chief.

However, time and money were not the only factors that contributed to the Chief becoming a multi-use theater again; it took unwavering support from community members who were willing to put their time and energy toward renovations, new programming and a fresh vision.

The theater was purchased for $1.45 million by the Friends of the Chief with help from private investors in 2012. The Chief opened its doors as a cultural and performing arts center in summer 2013.

For the first year, efforts to achieve the board’s mission to create a vibrant and dynamic venue were gradual. Then in December, Friends of the Chief Foundation sold the building to longtime supporters Mary and Jack McClurg for $1.45 mil­lion. The sale allowed the Chief to remain in operation without worries of mortgage payments. Friends of the Chief has a 10-year lease agreement with the McClurgs as well as three five-year renewals.

“The Chief has such strong historical meaning to the Steamboat community, and we want to see it continue to be a performance and arts center,” Mary McClurg.

(Excerpts from article in our cherished Steamboat Pilot.)

Our Team

Management Team

Owners Kori McClurg and Barry Sherman

chief theater ambassador

Erik Dyce “Mr. Red Rocks”

marketing and product management

Jen Howell

Our vision

We’re remodeling The Chief Theater. What should you expect? Well, it will continue to be a cultural and performing arts center and event venue with a few more inspiring products and services.  The Chief has always been a cultural landmark, and locals Kori McClurg and Barry Sherman, plan to keep it that way. You can count on it.

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