Local theater’s haunting history


Josie Hafer

Anne Bollinger now rests in Lewiston’s Normal Hill Cemetery. Photo by Josie Hafer.

Josie Hafer, Editor-in-Chief

   Like any small town, Lewiston has a fair share of hauntings and ghost stories. Plenty of Lewiston’s historic buildings are over 100 years old and share their pasts with numerous spirits. 

   The Anne Bollinger Performing Arts Center, also known as the former home of the Lewiston Civic Theatre, is a 112-year-old sandstone building that was originally constructed for the Lewiston Methodist Church. The building is named after the world-famous opera singer and Lewiston native, Anne Bollinger. Shortly after construction, the Civic Theatre shared the space with the congregation, and the building’s reputation as a  performing arts center only grew. The Lewiston Civic Theatre purchased the building from the Methodist Church in 1972. 

   However, the Anne Bollinger building has an eerie past. A serial killer roamed in and around the valley in the 1980s, and during that time three valley residents went missing from the Bollinger building. Stepsisters Kristina Nelson, 21, and Jacqueline Miller, 18, as well as Steven Pearsall, 35, all vanished the night of Sept. 14, 1982. 

   Pearsall was a janitor at the Bollinger building and had gone to the building to do some laundry and practice his clarinet on the night he went missing. Nelson and Miller lived mere blocks from the Bollinger building and walked past it on their way to buy groceries on that same night. It is believed that they stopped at the Bollinger building to visit Pearsall, of whom both girls were close with. The bodies of Nelson and Miller were found in Kendrick, Idaho, nearly two years later. Pearsall was never found. 

   Since the building is over 100 years old, there are said to be numerous spirits that roam the premises. The ghosts of Kristina Nelson and Jacqueline Miller are said to be seen running up and down the stairs of the building. 

   Spirits from the Methodist Church are also spotted in the Bollinger building. In 1972, the year that the Lewiston Civic Theatre purchased the building from the Methodist Church, a man was seen walking through the theater seats where the church aisle used to be. A spectral bride has also been spotted in the building after she was left at the altar. 

   Even Anne Bollinger herself was spotted in the wings of the stage when the theater building was still functional. 
Lewiston has an undeniably dark past. Spirits seem to linger in the imagination of city›s residents as well as in its historic buildings. Is it all folklore, or are there others among us?