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This item is from the July 5, 1913, issue of The American Contractor:
“Picture Theater: 2 ¼ sty. 100x150. $30,000. Main st. & Fillmore av. Archt. H. P. Kehr, 503 Mutual Life bldg. Owner Buffalo Cement Co., 110 Franklin st. Up to roof. Architect desires bids on interior wood finish, electric work.”
There is a possibility that the Royal Theatre was a house that had opened in 1918 as the Liberty Theatre. The September 21 issue of The Moving Picture World that year said that “[m]oving picture theatre congestion at Orange, Texas, has been relieved by the opening of the Strand and the Liberty theatres on Front near Sixth street in that city.” 510 W. Front Street would put the Royal near Sixth Street. The upstairs windows of the building in the ca.1948 photo CSWalczak linked to are of an old style typical of the 1910s but pretty much obsolete for commercial construction by 1940. However, the Liberty was supposed to have had about 1,100 seats, so if it was the same house as the Royal there was quite a discrepancy to account for.
This notice appeared in the September 7, 1918, issue of The Moving Picture World:
“Herschel Thomas' Strand Theatre at
Orange, Texas, opened August 28 with Rex Beach’s ‘Heart of the Sunset.’ This theatre cost $70,000.”
“Orange, Tex.— The Liberty and Strand theatres will open very shortly, with a seating capacity of between 1,100 and 1,200 each. The Princess theatre of this city will be located in the New Holland building with double its former seating capacity.”
“Moving picture theatre congestion at Orange, Texas, has been relieved by the opening of the Strand and the Liberty theatres on Front near Sixth street in that city. Before these new play houses opened crowds would stand in line for an hour waiting to get a chance to see a show. The influx of population owing to ship building activity caused these conditions.”
Ed: I’ve held off submitting the Wadsworth Theatre because I’ve been unable to find any evidence that it operated as a movie house at any time during its brief existence. However, while trying to find such evidence I came across an item in the July 5, 1913, issue of The American Contractor that is probably about the Heights Theatre, which opened October 11, 1913:
“Store, Office & Moving Picture Bldg.: 2 sty. 102x150x100. $75,000. Broadway, 181st st. & Wadsworth av. Archts. Townsend, Steinle & Haskell, 1328 Broadway. Owner Robert E. Westcott estate, 33 Wall st. Bldrs. Fountain & Choate, 110 E. 23d st. Brick, stone. Work in progress. Plastering let to T. A. O'Rourke Co., 103 Park av.”
The Majestic Theatre in Jersey City opened September 16th, 1907, according to the October, 1907, issue of Architects' and Builders' Magazine.
Also, here is JCJohn’s link in clickable form. There is a brief history of the theater and some photos of the restored entrance building.
guarina: at 150 Wadsworth, the Heights Theatre building is on the west side of the street.
Philadelphia Architects and Buildings says that the Italia Theatre at 733 Christian Street was the same building as Verdi Hall. P.A.B.’s page for Verdi Hall doesn’t add any information, and PhilaPlace says that Verdi Hall was at 713 Christian Street. Obviously one web site or the other has made a mistake, but I don’t know which one. For what it’s worth, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania lists the “Verdi Hall or Italia Theater, 713 Christian Street, now municipal parking lot.”
Also, the Bella Vista community profile page of South Philly Review mentions “Verdi Hall, 713 Christian St., which opened in 1905, and later became an Italian cinema….”
So there are three possibilities:
(Most likely) Verdi Hall and the Italia Theatre were the same building, at 713 Christian Street;
They were different buildings at 713 and 733 Christian Street;
(Least likely) they were the same theater at 733 Christian Street.
So far the only photo I’ve found is the one at PhilaPlace depicting Verdi Hall about 1906. Until the address issue is cleared up, we can’t be positive whether or not Verdi Hall and the Italia Theatre were the same building. A Sanborn map of the block from the 1920s would resolve the issue, if anybody can come up with one.
This brief item appeared in the July 29, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World: “Shakopee, Minn.—The Gem theater here is now controlled by Frank Viegel, of St. James, Minn.”
The movie theater section of the 1921 Cahn-Hill guide listed a 250-seat Gem Theatre at Shakopee. The September 3, 1921, issue of Exhibitor’s Trade Review published a letter from L. E. Dawson, manager of the Gem Theatre in Shakopee (right column.)
Philadelphia Architects and Buildings lists an architect named Arthur H. Winters. He was both an architect and a contractor, and was probably the A. Winters who remodeled the Italia Theatre in 1929.
Dave Kenney’s Twin Cities Picture Show: A Century of Moviegoing lists a house called the Elite Theatre operating at 2517 27th Avenue S. from 1912 to 1929, and lists the Metro Theatre at 2519 27th Ave. S. from 1931 to 1952. He doesn’t list them as aka’s for each other (he usually does list aka’s), so, if he’s correct, the Elite must have been demolished to make way for the Metro rather than being remodeled to become the Metro. That seems quite an extravagance for economically depressed 1931, though. The roof on the Metro’s auditorium section is of a sort that might have been built in either period, so it offers no clue.
Dave Kenney’s Twin Cities Picture Show: A Century of Moviegoing lists two houses called the Lyndale Theatre: this one, and one at 624 20th Avenue N., which he says operated from 1910 to 1913. I believe that the street name was changed at some point, and the modern address of the first Lyndale Theatre would be 624 W. Broadway Avenue. This site would be a few doors east of N. Lyndale Avenue, so the theater’s name would be plausible.
Dave Kenney’s Twin Cities Picture Show: A Century of Moviegoing does list two locations for the Elite Theatre, and one of them is 2934 Lyndale Avenue South. Kenney says that this house operated from 1911 to 1915, but an item in Construction News of December 26, 1914, said that the foundation work for a new theater at 2932 S. Lyndale Avenue had been completed.
The Lyndale Theatre occupies the modern addresses 2932-2934, so if the Elite was on the same site it had been closed and demolished by late 1914. It’s also possible that it was on an adjacent lot and the addresses have drifted a bit over the years. Either way it was gone by 1916, but apparently it did really exist.
Kenney also lists the Elite at 2517 27th Avenue S., operating from 1912 to 1929.
Also, this theater has not been demolished. It still shows up in Google street view at its correct address of 2932 Lyndale Avenue South.
The foundation was in for the theater being built at 2932 Lyndale Avenue, according to an item in the December 26, 1914, issue of Construction News. The $31,000 project for the Calhoun Theater Co. had been designed by architect A.L. Garlough.
So it was definitely at 393 Selby by 1926, and probably before 1917 when it was renamed the Rialto.
The De Luxe Theatre probably went into operation in 1915. A Mr. Graham of the De Luxe Theatre in St. Paul was mentioned in the February 19, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World.
The issuing of the construction permit for the De Luxe Theatre, located on Maria Avenue between Third and Conway Streets and owned by C. L. Graham, was reported in the October 24, 1914, issue of The Construction News. The architect for the project was F. H. Ellerbe.
The firm Franklin Ellerbe founded at St. Paul in 1909 is, after a few name changes and mergers, still in operation as AECOM.
A number of American cities had theaters called the Blue Mouse, though the name was most common in the Pacific Northwest, where John Hamrick opened several. I’ve seen speculation that the name originated with a cabaret in Paris, but it is far more likely that all were named for a once-popular play of the name.
Originally written in German by playwrights Engel and Horst, The Blue Mouse was adapted for English-speaking audiences around 1908 by the popular American dramatist Clyde Fitch. Both Fitch and the play (which was considered quite scandalous in its day) are largely forgotten, but there is still a Blue Mouse Theatre in operation at Tacoma, Washington.
The Gem Theatre must have been at the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Smith Avenue. Part of a large community center operated by the Salvation Army, which uses the address 401 W. Seventh, now occupies the site of the Gem. The City of St. Paul allows block numbers to change anywhere along a block instead of only at intersections.
The Tacoma Public Library doesn’t provide permlinks for photos, so I don’t know if this will work, but if it does this photo should show the Colonial Theatre in 1920.
Two sources, a list of theaters in the 1915 St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer Press Almanac and Yearbook and a list in Dave Kenney’s book Twin Cities Picture Show: A Century of Moviegoing both give the address of this Gem Theatre (the second of three St.Paul houses to use the name) as 18 E. Seventh Street. The Penny Parlor/Alhambra/Cameo Theatre was at 16 E. Seventh and the Blue Mouse Theatre was at 20 E. Seventh. This photo, looking east along 7th Street toward Cedar Street, probably in the late 1910s, shows the three adjacent theaters, with the Gem in the middle.
Given a choice between a directory published by the local newspaper and the listings in the FDY I’d usually go with the local directory, but in this case, as we have only the 1915 directory available, it remains possible that the Elk Theatre opened in a storefront at 392 Selby and then moved to a new location across the street after that directory was published.
As the Beaux Arts operated into the 1950s it’s also possible that there is still somebody around who remembers it, and will eventually find this page and confirm the theater’s location.
This house was actually called the Blue Mouse Theatre. It operated at 20 E. Seventh Street from 1914 to 1922, according to Dave Kenney’s Twin Cities Picture Show: A Century of Moviegoing.
The February 19, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the Calhoun Theatre had reopened on January 29 after being closed for an expansion. The project had almost doubled the seating capacity of the house to 1,430. The Calhoun had originally opened eight months earlier. Satellite View does show that the current building is considerably deeper than the building shown on the original floor plans which can be seen on our “Photos” page.
The February 19, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World noted that the new Majestic Theatre in Wyandotte had been designed by Detroit architect Christian W. Brandt.
Dave Kenney’s Twin Cities Picture Show: A Century of Moviegoing (Google Books preview) lists the Cozy/Tuxedo/Gem Theatre at 389 W. Seventh Street. The Cozy is listed at that address in the St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer Press Almanac and Yearbook for 1915 (Google Books scan) as well.