Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theater on Feb 17, 2016 at 5:25 pm

127 N.Main Street is undoubtedly the correct address for the Ritz Theatre. The modern Eagles lodge building, which chippy1960 said (on January 9, 2012) was next door is at 129 N. Main. The quoins above the ground floor cornice of the old Eagles building, on the other side of the theater, which can be seen in the vintage photo, are still visible in the current Google Street View.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Weed Palace Theater on Feb 17, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Thanks for the tip about the fire, kevinfglover. I found a report about a fire at the New Weed Theatre the August 25, 1932, edition of the Medford Mail Tribune of Medford, Oregon. The item said that the house, which had been in operation only nine months, had been destroyed by a fire following an explosion early the previous morning. Walter B. Leverette, of the Cordilleran Theatre Circuit, owners of the house, said that the theater would be rebuilt with concrete construction. The burned house had been in a wood framed building.

This was probably operated by Robert Lippert later, before being taken over by the Naify family. In 1947, Lippert bought the Leverette Interstate Theatres, a nine-house chain. I don’t know for certain if the New Weed was still under Leverette’s control at that time, but it most likely was, as it had been part of his chain at least as late as March, 1945.

The news that the New Weed had been in operation nine months when destroyed by the 1932 fire means that it might not have been the original Weed Theatre that had operated in the 1920s. While it’s possible that the original house had merely been closed for a time and then renovated and reopened by Leverette in late 1931, but it could also have been in a different building. Either way, the original Weed Theatre was not in this building, newly constructed in (probably) 1932 or 1933 after the fire.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Ritz Theater on Feb 17, 2016 at 1:26 am

Ralph Sedgwick Silsbee established his practice in Elyria in 1904. Alfred Smith became a partner in the 1920s. The firm continued until Silsbee’s retirement in 1951. Silsbee was the son of Joseph Lyman Silsbee, a noted Chicago architect, who is now usually remembered as Frank Lloyd Wright’s first employer.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Odeon Theatre on Feb 16, 2016 at 5:34 pm

The September 17, 1892, issue of The New York Clipper had an announcement saying that the Odeon Theatre in Marshalltown, Iowa, had been leased for a term of years by its manager, Archie Cox. I haven’t yet been able to discover how long the house had been in operation at that time. The 1899-1900 Cahn guide lists the Odeon Theatre in Marshalltown as a ground floor house with 1,200 seats.

The Odeon is mentioned frequently in theatrical trade papers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and Marshalltown appears to have been a good theater town, hosting any number of road shows and concerts, with the Odeon the principal venue for them. This continued for decades, even after the house had turned to movies as its primary fare. It was one of the stops on the Denishawn Dance Company’s 1922-23 tour.

The Odeon was hosting live shows at least into the 1930s, and starting in 1932, the Odeon hosted plays by a newly established local company of actors, the Marshalltown Community Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Little Grand Theatre on Feb 16, 2016 at 5:31 pm

On a comprehensive list of movie theaters in the United States that was published in the December 19, 1908, issue of The Billboard, the Little Grand Theatre in Madison, Indiana, was listed at 107 E. Main Street. At 105 E.Main Street (now the address of the Little Grand’s successor theater, the Ohio) was a house called the Nickeltra Theatre.

The August 17, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World said that “[t]he Little Grand, Madison, Ind., has the white brick front about completed.” I suspect that it was either with this 1915 remodeling, or earlier, the Little Grand and Nickeltra Theatres were thrown together into one house called the Little Grand. The businesses adjacent to the Ohio in Google Street View are Harriette’s Knit Knook, at 103 Main, and Blue Wolf Vape, at 109 Main, so the footprint of the Ohio Theatre probably covers both of the theaters that were in operation in 1908.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Fox Theatre on Feb 15, 2016 at 7:50 pm

I had notes for the sixth (and final) Music Box Theatre in Portland and intended to submit it ages ago, but must have overlooked it. Now the notes have gone missing. What I can gather quickly is that it was built into an existing building, its formal opening was on January 20, 1960, with 628 seats (later reduced to 611, probably to fulfill ADA requirements,) it was equipped with DP70 projectors, it closed before 1991, and was demolished in 1997, along with the rest of the block, for the Fox Tower project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Americana 5 on Feb 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Linkrot repair: The article about the four-screen annex to the Americana in the April 20, 1970, issue of Boxoffice can now be found at this link.

Robert Lippert opened the original, single-screen Americana on September 18, 1964. It was the annex which opened in 1970. The ad in the photo section is from that event.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Loew's Vendome Theatre on Feb 13, 2016 at 2:09 pm

An advertisement for Nashville’s new Theatre Vendome, then under construction, appeared in a December, 1886, issue of The New York Mirror and listed the architects as J. D. McElfatrick & Sons.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Princess Theatre on Feb 12, 2016 at 10:21 pm

This project noted in the November, 1908, issue of The Clay Worker was probably the Princess, despite the location being given as Fifth Street and Central Avenue:

“The Samuel H. Chute Company has let the contract to F. G. McMillan for the erection at Fifth street and Central avenue of a brick and tile theater building, the foundation for which is to be completed this fall. Harry G. Carter is the architect. Cost, $50,000.”
Harry G. Carter died in 1910, and his obituary noted that the Princess Theatre had been his most recent project. Records of City Council meetings in August, 1908, indicate that the S.H. Chute Co. was building a theater at 10-12-14 Forth Street NE.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bijou Theatre on Feb 12, 2016 at 9:47 pm

A report prepared for the Minnesota Historical Society says that the theater at 20 N. Washington Avenue opened as the People’s Theater on October 31, 1887. It was renamed the Bijou in 1890, but was destroyed by fire in December of that year. The Bijou was rebuilt, now a bit larger, with plans by the original architect, Harry G. Carter. The building was razed in 1960 (note Louis Rugani’s earlier comment that the house was still operating in August, 1959.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Valentine Theatre on Feb 12, 2016 at 9:28 pm

An article about the Valentine Theatre was published in the September 18, 2003, issue of The Toledo Blade. It said that the theater opened in 1892 as the Citizen’s Opera House. Other sources indicate that it was called the Defiance Opera House for a while before becoming the Valentine Theatre. The article said that much of the theater’s interior is still in its original state.

The Citizen’s Opera House Co. had accepted plans for the project prepared by St.Paul theater architect Harry G. Carter, according to an item in the August 2, 1890, issue of The New York Clipper. The plans called for a ground floor theater with 378 seats in the parquet, 278 in the balcony, 318 in the gallery, and six boxes, each accommodating six patrons.

The Blade article says that the building originally had a ballroom on the second floor, but this was removed when hotel was added to the front of the building. At some point the roof of the auditorium was lowered and the gallery removed. Seating was ultimately reduced to 546.

The Defiance Public Library provides this postcard from the 1910s showing the original appearance of the theater building.

In 2003, the church which had occupied the theater for several years was moving out, and a local citizens group had hopes that the city would buy the house and it would be restored to theatrical use, but the project obviously came to nothing as the Valentine is now occupied by a different church group.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bellevue Theatre on Feb 12, 2016 at 5:23 pm

A description of the Bellevue Theatre and a 1916 photo of the entrance appear in this post from The PhillyHistory Blog. A sign above the entrance boasts of the Bellevue’s “Wonderful Echo Organ.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Theatorium on Feb 12, 2016 at 3:44 pm

The 100 block of Chestnut Street has been redeveloped as part of the Downtown Mall shopping center, so the Theatorium has been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crystal Theatre on Feb 12, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Here is a bit of information about the Crystal Theatre from Movie Debut: Films in the Twin Cities 1894-1909 by Lucile M. Kane and John A. Dougherty:

“…the Crystal (Minneapolis) was outstanding. A plan rendered by Harry G. Carter, a veteran theater architect, called for the conversion of a two-story brick-veneer structure into theater with a seating capacity of 575 at a cost of $20,000. According to the Minneapolis Journal, the theater, which opened on August 28, 1909, measured 115 by 44 feet and was 29 feet high without a gallery or balcony. The interior colors were red, green, and gold. The ornate fa├žade facing on Hennepin Avenue was decorated in white and gold.”
Kane and Dougherty’s article, a useful resource, was published in the Winter 1995 issue of the Minnesota Historical Society’s quarterly Minnesota History (PDF here) and includes a photo and a drawing of the Crystal, along with numerous other illustrations of early Twin Cities theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Metropolitan Theatre on Feb 12, 2016 at 12:47 pm

The obituary of architect Harry G. Carter in the March 5, 1910, issue of The Improvement Bulletin listed the Metropolitan Theatre in Minneapolis as one of his works.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Bijou Theatre on Feb 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm

According to his obituary in the March 5, 1910, issue of The Improvement Bulletin, the original architect of the Bijou Theatre in Minneapolis was Harry G. Carter.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 12, 2016 at 12:14 pm

The Princess Theatre was in operation at least as early as 1908. It was listed in the 1913-1914 Cahn guide as having 485 seats on the main floor, 180 in the balcony, and a gallery seating 49.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theater on Feb 11, 2016 at 4:09 pm

“A. H. Bank” in the theater description should read “A. H. Blank.” Paramount affiliate Blank probably operated the Strand from the time of its opening, and then bought it outright in 1917 as noted in this item from the December 29 issue of Motography that year:

“Ingleduc & Jensen have sold the Strand Theater at Marshalltown to A. H. Blank of Des Moines who will continue to operate it.”
I found a reference to an O. L. Ingleduc who was mayor of Marshalltown in 1910. The vintage photo of Main Street shows that the Strand’s site is now under the footprint of the Great Western Bank building, so the theater has been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Empress Theatre on Feb 10, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Rochester, Minnesota, by Ted St Mane, says that the Empress Theatre was built in 1914, closed in 1956, and the building was demolished on December 31, 1965. There’s a photo at the bottom of page 105 (Google Books preview.)

The finding aid to the Liebenberg & Kaplan papers indicates that the firm worked on the Empress three times: in 1931, 1935, and 1951.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Crystal Theatre on Feb 10, 2016 at 8:53 pm

The name of the theater is not given in this item from the May 13, 1916, issue of Motography, but the address is that of the Crystal:

“J. Barnet of St. Paul, proprietor of the only all-night moving picture theater in Minneapolis, has been denied a renewal of his license on complaint of the Minneapolis Humane Society that children were allowed in the place after curfew hours. The theater is located at 305 Hennepin avenue.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Iowa Theatre on Feb 10, 2016 at 8:27 pm

Documentation of the Grinell Historic Business District for the NRHP says that the Iowa/Colonial Theatre was at 937 Main Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatres on Feb 10, 2016 at 7:59 pm

The Strand Theatre in Grinnell was originally to have had 600 seats, according to this item from the May 13, 1916, issue of Motography:

“Work has been started on the new motion picture theater on Main street, Grinnell. Mart & Son is the owner and they have had plans drawn for a very modern theater to seat 600. Cost $20,000.”
A 1:27 video tour of the Strand can be seen at YouTube.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 10, 2016 at 7:32 pm

A book called Past and Present of Adams County, published in 1917, says: “The Brach Theater was erected by William Brach and is the first elaborate, exclusive moving picture theater to be erected in Hastings. The house was opened October 8, 1916. Charles A. Beghtol is the proprietor.”

The May 13, 1916, issue of Motography had an item about the proposed theater, though it got the name of the owner wrong:

“The office and theater building being erected in Hastings by William Branch [sic] has been leased by Charles A. Beghtol of Denver. The latter expects to take possession by September 1. The first floor will be used exclusively for a moving picture theater, which, Mr. Beghtol and the designers say, will have no superior in the west. The lobby will be especially elaborate, with tile floor and marble trimmings. The installation of an orchestra organ is contemplated.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Carver Theatre on Feb 10, 2016 at 6:46 pm

If the Catherine was twinned in 1916, it was probably part of the remodeling and enlargement noted in this item from the April 29, 1916, issue of Motogrpahy, thopugh the item doesn’t mantion anything about a second auditorium being part of the project:

“The Catherine Theater, Detroit, Mich., is being remodeled and enlarged, and will be ready for opening by July 1. The theater, when the new improvements are completed, will have a seating capacity of 800. The theater is owned and operated by the Lincoln Amusement Company.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Illinois Theater on Feb 9, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Here is the paragraph about the Illinois Theatre from a document about the Joseph W. Royer Arts and Architecture District, an historic neighborhood of Urbana with several surviving buildings designed by Joseph William Royer, architect of the lost theater:

“This four-story brick structure was built by a group of Urbana stockholders on land donated by the Flatiron Building Association. Construction began in early June 1907, and the new theater was formally opened on March 3, 1908. Local and nationally known artists such as Enrico Caruso, Al Jolson, Jenny Lind, and Sarah Bernhardt performed in the theater. From 1923 the building was owned by the Zenith Amusement Company, a Ku Klux Klan organization, which used it primarily for Klan activities. On April 3, 1927, the theater burned down. The walls survived, and the ‘Tuscany’ Apartments were built in the burnt out shell.”