Capitol Theatre

330 W. 3rd Street,
Davenport, IA 52801

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Showing 26 - 41 of 41 comments

PaulWolter on May 5, 2007 at 4:17 am

Thanks for the info. I see there is a listing at “the other cinema website” for the Columbia as well as some pictures. Someone needs to register the Columbia here. How sad that it was demolished to make a parking lot for its younger sister!

The later date of the Capitol would explain its resemblance better to the Central Park Theatre which now would have been built before the it.

mwspenge on May 4, 2007 at 6:02 pm

The Columbia and the Capitol both existed, the Capitol has always been the Capitol. They faced each other at 3rd and Ripley.
Also I was wrong about the paintings in the Capitol, they were wall-papered over in the 80’s while the theatre was leased by the “President” Gambling boat. I don’t think the Wicks pipe organ will be reinstalled. No money/no interest. Too bad.

PaulWolter on May 4, 2007 at 9:30 am

The pictures of the interior over at “the other cinema website” look a lot like the Central Park Theatre which Rapp & Rapp did in Chicago in 1917.

PaulWolter on May 4, 2007 at 9:25 am

Is it possible this theatre was orignally called The Columbia? The Rockford Morning Star for Sunday, February 31, 1915 states the following in an article heralding the opening of the Palace Theatre in Rockford, Illinois:

“…Messrs. George and C. L. Rapp have specialized in theater designing and among their latest masterpieces at the New Oprheum in Champaign, the Orpheum in Quincy, the Columbia in Davenport, Ia., the New Palace in Fort Wayne, Ind., the Hippodrome in Chicago, the Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, Wis., and the Palace in Rockford. They also have theaters under construction in Louisville, Ky. and Grand Rapids, Mich.”

kencmcintyre on November 20, 2006 at 4:47 pm

On 7/24/49, the Davenport Democrat-Leader advertised Clark Gable and Alexis Smith at the Capitol in MGM’s “Any Number Can Play”, plus a cartoon and late news. “The Stratton Story” with Jimmy Stewart would start a few days later. Other theaters in Davenport at that time were the State, Esquire, Garden, Uptown, Bel-Air, RKO Orpheum and Sunset.

mwspenge on October 3, 2005 at 5:22 am

Whoops. Got busy and….

jstep on September 26, 2005 at 9:30 am

It’s good to hear that things are being done to preserve this theatre. I really wish the City of Davenport would utilize this building more. I feel that the true gem in downtown Davenport is the Capitol and not the Adler but all the attention and renovations and money go to the Adler Theatre. Don’t get me wrong, the Adler is beautiful but I would love to see the Capitol brought back to it’s former glory.

Thanks for the update, mwspenge.

mwspenge on August 13, 2005 at 5:31 pm

To answer jstep about the extent of Scott Comm. Coll.expenses is that they tuck-pointed the north side of the theatre, the source of the interior plaster damage on that inside wall(north). The entire 10 story Kahl building has been acid and pressure washed(5 shades whiter now)all city code problems fixed, the missing stone-work has been re-created on the Kahl facade. The grand drape has been replaced, emergency lighting has been installed thoughout the theatre and back-stage, dressing rooms and basement. The pin-rail has been re-roped and ballasted. Lighting is fairly new, the house lights are still on the old Westinghouse board, stage lighting controlled from 1st balcony location w/ new board and fixtures. The original Knabe 9'concert grand piano is on the house left aux. stage. the Capitol also had a 6' grand that is still in the Quad cities, in a local restaurant. The Harp was plaster fake. I saw it in the 70’s, don’t know where it is. My e-mail is if any info needed or becomes available.

mwspenge on August 13, 2005 at 7:31 am

I have been in every corner of the Capitol and I can’t remember any lobby paintings, ever. I have been a part of the organ crew since 1972 and the organ is now being re-installed. It was my understanding that the Capitol was a movie house first, stage was added to the theatre after a few years. If you examine the alley walls there is a line where the brick work was spliced in, right behind the line of the projection screen. I am happy to know others like William and jstep are watching this situation. I hope you live in the QC area. The reference to Buddy holly is the “Winter Dance Party” and this show was Jan 29, 1959. Clear lake happened shortly after. The main floor was re-seated in the early 70’s and the house seats 1,583 now. The last dozen or so rows of seats below the projection booth had been walled off at that time also, and are still in place behind the wall. Both Simplex 35mm projectors are still in the booth, will need work to use them but all parts are there.

William on April 20, 2005 at 8:48 am

On January 2nd, 1927, the Orpheum Circuit acquired control of the Capitol Theatre.

jstep on November 24, 2004 at 1:27 pm

A picture of the marquee of the Capitol Theatre can be seen at:

It’s a beautiful Rapp & Rapp house built in 1920 and it needs some TLC.
Let’s hope the community college really cares.

jstep on November 24, 2004 at 9:56 am

I was just in this theatre last week and it’s really starting to go downhill. It doesn’t look like the college has put a penny into it since it was endowed to them a few years ago, some of the seats are ripped and the plaster ornamentation is starting to fall off. It also looks as if the ceiling has sustained some water damage.
I will be contacting Scott Community College to see if they have any plans on fixing this old beauty.
I hope they don’t continue to run this theatre into the ground, it would be a real shame.

wolfie on December 7, 2003 at 9:11 pm

I remember going down to the capitol theatre one very, very cold winter night to see Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens The Big Bopper & Dion & the Belmonts, The year was 1959, a time that will live in my memories forever! My life has been dedicated to rock & roll eversince.

William on December 5, 2003 at 9:39 am

The Capitol Theatre is located at 330 W. 3rd Street and when it was a movie theatre it seated 2500 people.