Located at 50 W. 200 South in Salt Lake City, the Capitol Theatre opened its doors in August of 1913.
The theater was designed by Albert G. Lansburgh, a graduate from Ecole des Beaux Art in Paris, France. The structure had features uncommon for the time, including air conditioning, along with being both fireproof and earthquake resistant.
Originally completed as part of the Orpheum Theatre chain, the theater was remodeled by an architecture firm in 1927. After a variety of productions and management transitions, Salt Lake County purchased and restored the theater in 1976.
The Capitol Theatre has been the host of many plays, productions, and concerts, while also being the home of a spirit.
In 1949, a fire started in the basement of the theater, the cause to this day remaining unknown. 600 guests were able to escape the blaze without any injury, all leaving behind a 17-year-old usher by the name of Richard “George” Duffin, who had fallen during his attempted escape.
Fire Captain William A. Limb was able to retrieve Duffin’s body 90 minutes later.
Duffin’s ghost is said to play tricks on those working in the theater. Others have reported incidents of feeling an otherworldly presence, hearing voices, and smelling smoke. It is said he is especially active during productions of “The Nutcracker.”
Visit the Salt Lake Tribune archives to learn more about the spirit at Capitol Theatre.