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KiMo Theater

By Edith Cherry and James See – September 17, 2020

Address:  421 Central Avenue, NW, Albuquerque, NM  87102

Access:  KiMo Contact Site

In the age of the film palaces, an enthusiastic Albuquerque entrepreneur, Oreste Bachechi, wanted the community to have a film palace that honored the Southwest. He hired Carl Boller, who had designed theaters in San Antonio and elsewhere, as the architect of the KiMo. Boller’s design fused the symbolism of Native American cultures with the exotic qualities of the Art Deco style to enhance the interior and exterior surfaces of the KiMo and to produce what is now called Pueblo Deco design. The name KiMo (pronounced “KEE-mo”) means “king of its kind” in the Tiwa language.

In the early 1960s, a fire destroyed the stage and adjacent areas of the theater.  The building languished and was threatened with demolition until in 1977, when Albuquerque voters approved a proposal for the City to restore and manage it. Subsequent restorations and renovations have added gallery space, accommodated modern codes, and improved the technical aspects of the theater. Visitors to the interior can see the elaborate Southwestern décor, including cow skull light sconces and murals by Carl Von Hassler.

Completed:  1927
Architect:  Boller Brothers, Architects and Robert E. McKee
Contractor:  seeking info*

Restoration: 1982
Architect:  Hoshour & Pearson, Architects
Contractor:  seeking info*

Renovation:  2000
Renovation:  Kells + Craig Architects in association with Pearson and Co. Architects
Contractor:  seeking info*

National Register of Historic Properties:   #77000920 (1977)
NM State Register of Cultural Properties:  #453 (7/30/1976)  

City of Albuquerque Landmark https://www.cabq.gov/planning/boards-commissions/landmarks-commission/historic-landmarks

Learn More:            



2006    Kammer, David, “Movie Theaters in New Mexico, 1905-1960,” National Register of Historic Places, Multiple Property Documentation Form: http://www.nmhistoricpreservation.org/assets/files/historic-contexts-and-reports/Movie-Theaters-in-New-Mexico-MPDF-Final-Sent-to-NPS.pdf

1984    Whiffen, Marcus and Carla Breeze, Pueblo Deco, The Art Deco Architecture of the Southwest, pp. 46-48. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM.

1980   Pildas, Ave, Movie Palaces, Survivors of an Elegant Era, pp. 86-87, and 124. Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. Publishers, New York, NY.






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