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Presque Isle: The Star City

Braden Theater

Text by Karlee and Laurin, students at Presque Isle Middle School
Edited by Presque Isle Historical Society

The Braden Theater opened in April 1950 on Main Street in Presque Isle. The 900 plus seat theater was named after John R Braden, a famous local harness horse owned by the Mooseleuk Club. There was a line of more than two hundred people who waited for an hour to see the first movie played in the new theater. The first movie to play here was “Nancy Goes to Rio” and the first ticket was sold to Mrs. Mary Griffiths.
When it was first constructed, the theater was owned by Mark Tuner and George Barnes of Presque Isle, and Newell Smith and Charlie Brooks of Ashland. The theater was sold to James Reginald and Richard Bernard in May 1970. Two additional screens were added to the theater under their ownership. After forty-three years of success, the Braden closed its doors on Sunday, January 2, 1994 due to insurmountable competition from a new 8-screen movie complex at the Aroostook Centre Mall.
Fifteen years later, father and son Arlen and Chris Dow purchased the theater. It re-opened on Saturday, March 1, 2009. The theater still has three screens. The first movies that played at the re-opened theater were: “There Will Be Blood”, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”, and “The Spiderwick Chronicles”.


Clark, Janice. "Lights Go out for Good in Theater." Bangor Daily News 4 Jan. 1994.
McCarty, Kathy. "On with the Show." Star-Herald [presque isle] 27 Feb. 2008.

Graves III, Richard A. Forgotten Times: A Walk Through History. 1st ed. Presque Isle, 2007.