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L. F. Sunlin was listed as proprietor of the Savoy Theatre on a list of Flint movie houses in the May 1, 1912, issue of The New York Clipper. An item in the January 6, 1934 issue of The Film Daily said that Sunlin Amusement Enterprises had reopened the Savoy Theatre in Flint.
The Cort Theatre was located on Wheeling Avenue. An article about the opening of the State Theatre in the April 2, 1937, issue of the Zanesville Recorder said that the Cort Theatre had been a popular movie house for the past six years.
This page has an old photo of the Colonial Theatre. A comment by Dave Holdren says that it was at the corner of Wheeling Avenue and 6th Street, and that it was built in 1901 and burned down in 1968. The October 10, 1901, issue of the Cambridge Jeffersonian reported on the opening of the house, and noted that the architect was Wilbur T. Mills, a former resident of Cambridge who was practicing architecture in Columbus.
The April 10, 1937, issue of The Film Daily mentioned that H. R. Wagner was operating the Majestic and Little Theatres in Seymour, Indiana. He had just had Sirocco blowers installed in both houses.
The April 10, 1937, issue of The Film Daily said that he State Theatre in Cambridge, Ohio, had been opened by the Shea circuit. Shea also operated a house called the Cort Theatre in Cambridge at that time.
There’s not too much about Mt. Gilead’s old buildings on the Internet, but I did find a reference that is probably about the block the theater is in in a 1911 book called History of Morrow County, Ohio; a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests:
“The substantial business blocks erected on North Public square, erected by Mark and Perry Cook, commenced in 1894 and ended with the Masonic Temple block in 1899….”
“For several years prior to September 19, 1905, the lodge had occupied the convenient and desirable rooms in the third story of the Cook Block, at the northwest corner of the North Public square, as their Castle Hall, and on that day brother Mark Cook, a member of the lodge, presented to the trustees of the lodge the entire third story of said block for their Castle Hall. It was a very generous gift, and is valued at four thousand dollars.”
“Parties interested in Kaypee, Mt.
Gilead, will confer with local ministers regarding operating house on Sunday, on account of six day operation showing loss. If Sunday showings cannot be arranged, house may be closed.”
The interesting thing is that, if Bruce intended to operate the theater space as a dance hall and skating rink it must have had a level floor, which means the theater must have still been located in the third-floor room in the Cook Block, and so the ground floor auditorium must have been added behind the building after 1929. If the new auditorium was built by 1931, it could be that the Capitol opened as the Rex Theatre, the house that was mentioned in trade journals in 1931 and 1935. When I get a chance I’ll check the Film Daily Yearbooks from the period to see if there are any clues.
A chimney is not a very unusual feature of older theaters in the east. They served as the vent for a coal or oil-fired furnace or boiler (which was usually located in a basement) that provided heat for the building.
326-330 N. 3rd Street is now occupied by a postmodern building housing a residential condominium called The Palladian, built in 2007-2008. The first Wausau Theatre has been demolished.
The entry for Racine architect J. Mandor Matson on a list of theater architects in the April 28, 1928, issue of Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World includes the Crown Theatre among his recent works.
The entry for Racine architect J. Mandor Matson on a list of theater architects in the April 28, 1928, issue of Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World includes the Plaza Theatre in Burlington, Wisconsin, among his recent works.
A list of theater architects in the April 28, 1928, issue of Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World has an entry for Oppenhamer & Obel, and the Grand and Wausau Theatres at Wausau are listed as that firm’s designs, confirming the claim of the Marathon County Historical Society.
Like its neighbor, the Strand Theatre, the Wysor Grand has been demolished. This web pagehas a ca.1956 photo of the Wysor with the Strand in the background.
A brief article about the Catlow Theatre appears on this page of Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World of April 14, 1928. Two photos of the auditorium can be seen on this page.
The “Better Theatres” section of Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World of April 14, 1928, had two photos of the Ritz Theatre in Chariton, Iowa. Aside from the loss of a decorative parapet, the building appears to have changed little since then. The Ritz was designed by a local architect, William L. Perkins.
Another photo of the Ritz and a brief article appear on this page of the same magazine.
The November 9, 1901, issue of the New York Dramatic Mirror reported that Staub’s Theatre in Knoxville had reopened on October 14 after having been rebuilt over the previous summer at a cost of $40,000. The architect for the project was Frank Cox.
The Vendome Theatre was substantially rebuilt in 1901 to the plans of architect Tignal Franklin Cox, who had recently moved his office from New Orleans to Chicago. A photo of the Vendome’s original facade can be seen on page 10 of this PDF file, a short biography of Frank Cox by his great-granddaughter, Robin Yonish.
Capitol: Newspaper archives are a good place to start. At the very least they should have ads for the theater at least once a week. Keep in mind it might not have always been called the Capitol. I’ve found references to a house called the Kaypee (or Kay-Pee) Theatre at Mt. Gilead as early as 1926 and as late as 1934. In the late 1920s, the manager was named Griff Granger, and a 1928 item in Motion Picture News said that the Kaypee was the smallest first-run theater in Ohio.
There was also a house called the Rex Theatre in Mt. Gilead, which I found mentioned in 1931 and in 1935. Either Kaypee or Rex might have been an earlier name for the Capitol.
Are there any clues to what the building housed when it was built in 1894? It’s usually easier to find information about a building if you know what it was originally used for.
Articles in the Alton Evening Telegraph from September 24 and October 5, 1912, note that Frank Cox (Tignal Franklin Cox) of Chicago was both the architect and builder for the reconstruction of the old Lyric Theatre into the Hippodrome. The items can be seen about halfway down this web page, which features transcriptions of many newspaper items about theaters in Madison County. The formal opening of the Hippodrome took place on Monday, September 24, 1912.
A great deal of information about Frank Cox, architect of the Covina Theatre, can be found in The Life of Tignal Franklin (Frank) Cox (1854-1940), a brief biography by his great-granddughter, Robin Yonash, which is available here as a PDF.
Tignal Franklin Cox (called simply Frank Cox in publications from the period when he was working) had a long and successful career as a scenic artist, decorator, architect, builder, and developer. His first known work in theaters took place in the 1880s, when he began painting scenic drop curtains. He painted curtains for the Opera House in Batavia, New York (1883), and the Academy of Music in Auburn, New York (1884), and in 1885 became the scenic artist for Smith’s Opera Houses in Tarrytown, New York, and in Batavia.
He began his architectural career in New Orleans around 1893, though houses of his design were built from Texas to Illinois. He moved his operation to Chicago in 1900, and about 1918 moved again, to Southern California, where he settled in the Los Angeles suburb of Covina. There, in 1921, he designed the Covina Theatre for his son-in-law George Leonardy and his nephew Earl Sinks.
An item in the February 6, 1920, issue of regional trade journal Southwest Builder & Contractor noted that Frank Cox, then preparing preliminary plans for a theater in Phoenix, Arizona, had “…planned more than 50 theaters for the Klaw & Erlanger interests.”
A nice example of Cox’s work is his drawing of the New Lyceum Theatre in Atlanta, which can be seen on this web page. Unfortunately, the New Lyceum was destroyed by fire in 1901, six years after it was built. It was never rebuilt and so never had a chance to become a movie theater.
Several of his early stage and vaudeville houses did survive long enough to be movie houses, though, including the Majestic Theatre at Streator, Ilinois (1907) and the Grand Opera House in Galveston, Texas, both of which are still standing and serving as theaters.
The second Lyceum Theatre was designed by architect Frank Cox (Tignal Franklin Cox) who was then practicing in New Orleans. Later he moved to Chicago and then to Covina, California. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries he was a prolific theater architect with a national presence, a feat all the more impressive given that he did not begin practicing architecture until he was nearly 40 years old, having been a sign painter and a scenic designer prior to that.
This item from the May 22, 1920, issue of The American Contractor must be about the Grand Theatre (complete with misspellings):
“Alton. Ill.—Theater (M. P.): 1 sty. 145 x 90. Archts. L. Pfeiffenbergers & Sons. 102 W. 3d St. Owner John Jianakopolis. Gen. contr. let to H. H. Underbrinck.”
The Grand Theatre opened on December 4, 1920.
I don’t know what became of Bryan Krefft’s comment with a link to a painting f the Wood River Theatre, but I did find a photo of the entrance of the house on this web page which also has photos of four other hardtop houses and two drive-ins in Madison County, as well as a big collection of transcribed newspaper items about them.
The marquee of the theater in the photo (dated 1936) says WOODRIVER as all one word. I also found on another web site an October 14, 1929, newspaper item that called the house the Woodriver Theatre, so that might have been how the name was styled in the theater’s earlier years.
I see in street view that the storefront to the left of the Lowell Theatre entrance has the number 21 on it, so the theater’s address must have been 23 Erie Street.
The Lowell was one of 28 theaters operated by members of the Diamos family between 1912 and the 1970s. The Arizona Historic Society has two boxes of photos, mostly from the 1940s, donated by JoAnn Diamos which can be seen at the society’s library in Tucson. Here is a PDF of the finding aid.
Homeboy: You’re right about the area around Washington and Vermont having been the home of L.A.’s “Film Row” with a number of booking offices, but the only theater I recall in the immediate area was the Boulevard itself, and it was on the northwest corner.
The nearest theater on Vermont to the south was La Tosca, at 30th Street, and to the north there was the Fox Parisian, but that was all the way up at 8th Street.
To the west were the Arlington Theatre, on the north side of Washington just west of Arlington, and the Maynard Theatre, on the south side of Washington just east of Arlington. I don’t remember there being any theaters on Washington east of the Boulevard.
The only cluster of three theaters close together that I recall on the south side was the one around Broadway and Manchester. The Manchester Theatre was the big one, just west of Broadway, and then there were the smaller Mecca and Mayfair Theatres, about a block apart on Broadway south of Manchester.
There were several more theaters on South Vermont, but they were all south of Exposition Park.
The 1941 Baist map shows that the Sanders Theatre has to have been on the site of that building with “2001 A.D.” on its parapet, as the theater was too close to the corner to have been in the building with the White Rabbit Cabaret in it. The 1941 FDY gives the address of the Sanders Theatre as 1106 Prospect. The address 1108 on the map must have been a shop, and 1110 the entrance and stairway to either an upper floor or a basement. It was too narrow to have been anything else. If it was a stairway to an upper floor then the Sanders Theatre has either been demolished or the structure was cut down to a single floor.
The July 4, 1914, issue of The Moving Picture World noted the recent opening of the Garrick Photoplay Theatre:
“Addresses by Mayor Nye and other city officials of Minneapolis, Minn., were scheduled for the opening of John C. Karlson’s new Garrick Photoplay Theater at Nicollet Avenue and Twenty-sixth Street. The house, erected at a cost of $30,000, will seat 600.”
Council proceedings from March 28, 1919, noted the issuance of a moving picture relicense to the Garrick Theatre at 2541 Nicollet. A downtown theater called the Garrick had opened in 1915, so the two houses operated under the same name for at least a few years.
The October 13, 1912, issue of The Construction News had an item about a $10,000 moving picture theater to be built at 26th and Nicollet, but given the difference in cost, if this was the same project its scope was expanded considerably. Also, given the gap of more than a year between that item and the opening of the Garrick I don’t think it’s certain that the original architect (the Rose Engineering Company) did the final design, although the protest against granting a license to the theater in November, 1913, suggests that the house might have been completed some time before it was allowed to open.
There is a way for someone in Minneapolis to find out who did the final design for this house (and many other Minneapolis theaters) though. The Minneapolis Plan Vault Collection at the University of Minnesota has copies of plans submitted to the Buildings Inspection Department by architects or builders, and the finding aid lists quite a few theaters among them, including this one. The collection is available for public viewing and, in some cases, copies of items can be made. It is part of the special collections, which are apparently housed at Anderson Library. The library also has the Liebenberg & Kaplan papers, which includes plans and photos of many of the theaters that firm designed.