Cutter Theatre (Metaline Falls School)

A community rallies to save an historic icon

How an abandoned school building gained new life

Preservation is important to small communities in keeping their heritage and remembering their history.

The Metaline Falls School, constructed in 1912, was designed by Kirtland Cutter. It was the first school in the region and the only school in Metaline Falls until 1956. It housed grades K-12. The building housed the Selkirk School District Office until 1972, when the district abandoned the structure.

In 1990, a small group of educators, led by Eva Gayle and Al Six, organized volunteers to rehabilitate a building that had not been maintained for nearly two decades. Within the first year, volunteers provided more than 14,000 hours, restoring the dilapidated building into a theatre and community center, renaming it Cutter Theatre.

In 2009 the Theatre received a grant of $2,000 from the Valerie Sivinski Washington Preserves Fund, to “assist with structural stabilization and exterior restoration.” The project leaders also attempted to keep costs down, by finding used equipment when possible. The current theater seating once held visitors to Spokane’s Déjà Vu. The original gymnasium formed the stage area and the green room hosts community gatherings, aside from being a ready room.