City Christmas ornament has arrived

Updated Dec. 5

This year’s official City of Great Falls ornament arrived Wednesday morning and is now available for purchase.

The Belt Theatre is featured on the 11th annual Christmas ornament, in a series featuring significant historic buildings in Great Falls and Cascade County.

Belt Theatre, Cascade County Courthouse among historic preservation honorees

This year’s ornament was designed by Sheree Nelson, a local artist, and made of pewter by Cordsen Design Studio out of Fort Collins, Colo.

The Belt Theatre dates back to 1916 when it was built by the Knights of Pythias. Architect George Shanley designed the brick structure that housed a theater that showed silent movies and Vaudevile acts, according to the City-County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission. By 1932, the theater have been renamed the Palace Theater and showed movies with sound. In 1941, it became the Belt Theatre and operated until September 1969. The Belt Performing Arts Center took on the restoration and rehabilitation of the building, which opened its doors as a theater again in spring 2018.

The ornaments are $15 each and can be purchased at the city planning office in the Civic Center, the Mansfield Box Office, the Great Falls Public Library, The History Museum, Gallery 16, the Downtown Great Falls Association/Business Improvement District office on Central Avenue, and at special events like the Christmas Stroll.

Micuda said previous year’s ornaments are still available and can be purchased for $5 each by calling the planning office at 455-8432.

The City Commission created the official Christmas ornament project in 2008 and proceeds from the sale go to the Great Falls-Cascade County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission to be used for preservation education programs, such as downtown revitalization workshops, production of the popular walking tour brochures, preservation awards and matching funds for grants.

The first ornament, in 2008, featured the Civic Center and marked the 75th anniversary of the New Deal, of which the Civic Center was a project. Since then, ornaments have celebrated the Vinegar Jones Cabin, Great Falls’ first permanent residence; the Great Northern Depot, now Energy West; the Ursuline Centre; the Cascade County Courthouse; Great Falls High School; Paris Gibson Square; the Charles M. Russell Studio; the Masonic Temple; and the Commander’s Quarters at Fort Shaw.