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The Egyptian Theater: Boise's Crown Jewel

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Posted at 6:55 PM, Feb 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-09 20:55:32-05

BOISE, Idaho — The Egyptian Theater has been the center piece of Boise's entertainment scene for almost one hundred years.

A famous discovery near the banks of the Nile River, gave the Egyptian it's identity. Boise city historian Brandi Burns explains.

"So in 1922 when they discovered King Tut's tomb, it sparked a wave of people fascinated with the exotic, so you started to see a rise in theater, and other architecture that modeled this Egyptian revival, that you see here," Burns said.

As the years and decades passed, the Egyptian, turned into the Fox, then the Ada, and back to the Egyptian.

In the 1970's, there was a movement by a redevelopment agency to tear down the historic theater.

Like a Pied Piper playing it's flute, Burns says what saved the theater from the wrecking ball was the original pipe organ.

"When people realized the organ was going to go away they had one last show and it kind of woke people up and say why are we going to lose this for a mall. And then you see a push back on saving the historic structures," Burns said.

When Six on Your Side toured the theater we crawled underneath the stage to get a first hand look at the original organ from 1927.

We found out not too many people can still play the organ. As a matter of fact, theater staff have a night of silent films coming in February where they will fly someone in to actually play it.

That somebody is one of the nation's leading silent film accompanists and will be here February 15th for a night of silent movies.

And it's hard to be silent when it comes to talking about the elephant in the room, or in this case, the spirit in the room.

We asked Burns about these stories, are they fact of fiction?

"I really wish that all of the ghosts in the haunted buildings in Boise would tell us their story, but they don't want to talk to the historians," Burns said.

But historians will continue talking to us about the rich history in downtown Boise.