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Fate of Historic Cavern Theater Uncertain

Legendary Cavern Theater May Fade

In its prime, the legendary Cavern Theater located in downtown Carlsbad served as a community focal point and place where movie fans flocked to enjoy the latest film releases from Hollywood. But when owner Brad Light passed away, his plans to bring the fading theater back to its original glory dissolved as well.

His estate has ordered that the Cavern be sold to the highest bidder at public auction on September 26 and its ultimate fate remains uncertain.

Although city officials agree that a modernized Cavern Theatre would provide a downtown showplace for Carlsbad residents and visitors alike, the city itself does not have the millions in dollars it would require for the building's proper renovation into a community center or special events venue.

So the fate of the Cavern Theater rests with whoever becomes its new owner. Because it has not been designated with historic status, there is nothing to prevent the new owner from demolishing a prime example of elegant New Mexico architecture in order to construct a parking lot or a modern new building that would be privately held. Unless a wealthy civic minded citizen steps up to the plate to purchase the Cavern Theatre for restoration as a community resource, it's likely that after the auction gavel falls, so too will the historic walls of this downtown relic of Hollywood's heyday.

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