Peery’s Egyptian Theater was built after the fiery demise of the Arlington Hotel in 1923. Harman and Louis Peery devised a plan to build a grand theater, “The Showplace of the West”. The architectural firm of Hodgson & McClenahan, notable for many important Wasatch Front landmarks, was hired for the task. They took cues from many of the most famous western theaters, including Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, and settled upon an Egyptian-themed showhouse.
Construction began in 1923 on the cleared area left from the Arlington Hotel, and incidentally, the location of the Peerys’ first Ogden home. Ten months passed, and on July 3, 1924, the Egyptian opened. The first feature played at the new theater was Zane Grey’s Wanderer of the Wasteland. This “natural color” silent film was accompanied by the Mighty Wurlitzer, the Egyptian’s famous pipe organ.
The first “talking picture” was In Old Arizona, shown in 1929. This downgraded the role of the house pipe organ, which was occasionally used during intermissions and other programs. In 1960, the organ was removed and put into storage.