140 South Sansome St
Established in 1891, the Philipsburg Theatre is currently the oldest operating theater in the state of Montana. Over the years, the Philipsburg Theatre has changed hands and a variety of businesses have occupied parts of the building, including a soda pop bottling company, The Philipsburg Commercial Club, a bank, and Carmichael's Livery Stable. In the early 1980s, recognized pianist Andrew Crow acquired the property and saved it from demolition, later selling it to Tim Dringle, who along with his wife Claudette continue their plans to restore the theater back to its original splendor.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, painter Edgar S. Paxon created six backdrops and scenery flats for the theater. Born in Buffalo, New York, the friendly and energetic Paxon migrated to Montana in the spring of 1877, working at different times as a cowboy, a shotgun rider, and a military scout. He settled with his wife and son in Deer Lodge and became a professional painter. Throughout the years, the Paxon backdrops and scenery flats were sold numerous times, and in 1998 we honored their return to the Philipsburg Opera House. Of the six original backdrops, five remain today.
Today, owners Michael & Barbara McDowell are committed to having the theatre open year-round with a variety of programming from the non-profit Philipsburg Playhouse Productions.