About the Gem

The Gem Theater marquee glows among historic buildings on Main Street in rural Pioche, Nevada. Constructed in 1937, the approximate 250-seat Gem Theater was built expressly for film. During this Golden Age of Hollywood, thousands of movies were issued by Hollywood studios from the end of the silent era in the late 1920s to the early 1960s. Advances in technicolor and sound led to the thriving film era. Born from a competitive mining scene, Pioche was known as the ‘toughest town in the Old West.’ But even a tough town wanted entertainment.

The Gem Theater was originally located inside the building that is known today as Thompson’sOpera House— it showed silent movies to “talkies.”  When the block structure was built by Frank Thompson next door, use of the Opera House declined and it eventually closed in the1940s. The single-screen movie theater continued to show movies until spring 2002, when a windstorm blew the theater roof off and onto the adjacent Opera House.The theater suffered significant damage and despite the roof’s repair, no more movies were shown. The building was shuttered and sat vacant ever since.

After visiting Pioche on scenic road trips from Las Vegas, Melissa Clary fell in love with the Gem’s architecture and location on the hillside of the living ghost town. She dreamed of renovating and reopening the theater and helping to revive the once bustling Main Street. One day, Melissa heard of the theater up for sale and seized the opportunity to buy it. With her Carpenter boyfriend at her side, Daniel Roberts, the two established Friends of Gem Theater, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, to restore and reopen the venue.

Hold on to your hats and embark on a real adventure to restore the shining Gem in Nevada’s high desert!

Contact Information

Friends of Gem Theater
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: @GemPioche
Email Address:
Physical Address:
648 Main Street, Pioche, NV 89043
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 98, Pioche, NV 89043-0098

Original Watercolor Prints