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dallasmovietheaters: A timeline of Harold Spitznagel’s works on the web site of the firm he founded, TSP, says that the only movie house he designed was the Hollywood Theatre in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Cinema Treasures page.) This theater of the same name in Sioux City must have been designed by someone else.
Well, the Empress Theatre in the photo currently displayed above was definitely on Pierce Street, not Jackson (my apologies to dallasmovietheaters.) I’ve found another photo of it in a PDF (very large file which also has some photos of the Orpheum.) The photo is dated 1912-1915.
I can think of three possibilities: 1) The name Empress was used on two different theaters, this one and the one on Jackson Street; 2) the theater on Jackson Street was given a different name than the one originally planned; 3) the Jackson Street theater project was never completed.
The name Empress was undoubtedly chosen for the lessees of the Jackson Street project, the Sullivan & Considine circuit, who used that name for most of their houses, and the circuit began to collapse around the time this project was getting underway, so either the second or third possibility is pretty likely.
As even the existence of the 1914 theater on Jackson Street is now moot, we should probably use the address dallasmovietheaters found for the Empress Theatre on this page. Also, the name of the architect of the Jackson Street project should be removed.
Unless more than one Sioux City house used the name Empress, your source must be mistaken, dallasmovietheaters. A “100 Years Ago” feature in the April 13, 2014, issue of the Sioux City Journal (here) cited a 1914 article saying that the cornerstone of the old Central School had been unearthed during demolition of the structure to make way for the new Empress Theatre, which was to be built on the school’s site.
This web page says of the Central School: “In 1868, the city’s first brick schoolhouse was erected on the east side of Jackson Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets.” Thus the Empress must have been in the 400 block of Jackson Street.
I don’t know what was at 308 Pierce Street, but I now wonder if it could have been the Colonial Theatre, the owners of which were building the Empress? It’s possible that correspondence regarding the project was sent under the name Empress Theatre, but using the address of the Colonial, which is probably where the owners of the theaters had their office. We don’t have the Colonial listed at Cinema Treasures, though it was to have been converted into a movie house after the Empress opened. I’ve never found an address for the Colonial.
Well, the new link sort of works. It goes to the right location, but when the page opens all I see is asphalt. I had to pan the view upward to see the buildings.
Here is a bird’s-eye view from Bing Maps. It gives a view of the alley, but you can’t see the front wall of the building where the poster case is.
Rats! Let’s see if this one works.
The gym that was built in the space once occupied by Cinema Alley, mentioned in the comment by dondoubleu3 on August 18, 2010, must be the Retro Fitness, at Toms River Mall, 1214 NJ-37, Toms River, NJ 08753. This Google street view shows the alley next to the gym, down which the theater’s entrance must have been. On the front wall to the left of the alley’s entrance is a case with two posters in it. I wonder if the case could be what’s left of Cinema Alley?
I didn’t even notice the extra L in Nickellette. Nickelette was standard just about everywhere the name was used, and it was pretty popular name for nickelodeons. But our page used to say Nicolette, which I believe is a street in Minneapolis.
The Lyric is mentioned in the June 5, 1915, issue of Motography:
“The Lyric theater at Youngstown is now under new management. James Thomas has assumed control of the play house, and same will be entirely renovated and remodeled under his direction. Among the innovations at the Lyric are a new ventilating system and free mineral spring water for all patrons. First class pictures will be shown.”
4000 sounds like it might have been a typo for 400. The Lyric was a nickel theater, so I wouldn’t expect it to have been very large.
And the Glenn Theatre, opened in 1910 as the Colonnade, was at 520 Hampshire, so for a time there were three small theaters in a row, with the Savoy in the middle. I wonder if there are any photos of the row somewhere?
Listing a theater under its final name is standard at Cinema Treasures, unless the house only operated for a short time under the later name. If this theater’s run as the Roxy was brief, then more people are apt to remember it as the Barnsdall, but if it operated as the Roxy for at least a few years then the listing name should probably be changed. I haven’t checked the FDY’s to see how long after 1950 it was open.
This house might have been called both the Savoy and the Gem at various times, but there were houses of those names operating simultaneously in Quincy at one point. A book called Quincy and Adams County History and Representative Men, published in 1919, tells of Peter E. Pinklemann, a transplant from Philadelphia, who “…bought four theaters in Quincy, and now owns the Gem, the Savoy, the Princess and the Family, all popular and well patronized houses, furnishing a large share of the daily entertainment and amusement for Quincy people.”
The Quincy Theatre has been demolished. It was on part of the parking lot between the 7-story bank building at 529 N. Hampshire and the WGEM building at 513 Hampshire. The Illinois Digital Archives has two later photos of the house, both apparently taken after it closed, as the poster cases are empty and the building looks Rather decayed.
There is also this photo dated 1915, when the house had a more ornate front.
The May 15, 1910, issue of The Nickelodeon said that the Bijou Theatre in Quincy would be conducted as a motion picture theater during the summer months. The Bijou opened on January 16, 1905, according to the caption of an early 20th century photo of Hampshire Street at the Illinois Digital Archives. The photo is supposed to include the Bijou, but I certainly can’t make it out.
The Nickelette (correct spelling) Theater was in operation by 1909, when this advertisement ran in the May 29 issue of a local newspaper.
The “New Theaters” column of the June 15, 1910, issue of The Nickelodeon had an item datelined Quincy, Ill., which said: “Messrs. Dodge and McConnell, of the Bijou Theater, will open a first-class motion picture theater at 520 Hampshire street.”
A couple of early mentions in The Billboard in October, 1908, call this house Delphi’s Electric Theatre, and report that it was “…doing good business with moving pictures and illustrated songs.” The manager was named I. P. Williams.
Here is a photo of the house from somewhat later, when it was called the Crystal Theatre.
The July 4, 1914, issue of Construction News had this notice:
“Coggon, Ia.—Theatre, O. O., $6,000. Archt., W. J. Brown, Security bldg., Cedar Rapids. Owner, City of Coggon; M. Savage, chrm. bldg. com. Brk. & tile, 1 sty. and base., 44x 90; seat. cap., 500.”
The Barnsdall Theatre was renamed the Roxy Theatre in 1950, as reported in the September 2 issue of Boxoffice. The house had recently been purchased by the Tidwell brothers, who were renovating and redecorating inside and out.
This dying web page has a small section with a few paragraphs about the theater. It was originally opened as the Airdome Theatre, sometime early in the silent movie era. It closed in the 1950s, but was briefly reopened in the 1990s. The page used to have two photos of the theater, but all the links are broken and they no longer display.
Another one ground to dust: This Facebook post dated August 10, 2015, has a photo of the Broadmoor Theatre being demolished. It’s still visible for now in Google’s satellite view and in street view from Sanger Street along the south end of the shopping center. A large supermarket was built in front of it, but there is aside view up the alley. The Broadmoor closed sometime after the Internet became available, as it still has pages up at several movie listing sites, though it’s listed as closed.
The opening of G. S. Goffard’s Ritz Theatre was noted in the June 2, 1920, issue of The Film Daily. No details were given.
The Clovis New Mexico Evening News Journal of November 28, 1934, said that the Roosevelt Theatre at Hobbs had been destroyed by fire. Presumably it was rebuilt, or the name was moved to a different theater, as the Roosevelt Theatre suffered another fire in 1951, according to the caption of a photo that no longer appears on a broken web site called HobbsHistory.com.
Linkrot repair: The June 3, 1930, Motion Picture Times article about Mindlin’s Playhouse now starts on this page As the internal links on the web site of Boxoffice not longer work for all browsers, here is a direct link to the second page, which has most of the photos of the theater.
Thomas Tally began exhibiting movies in the curtained-off rear portion of his Phonograph and Vitascope Parlor at 311 S. Spring Street on July 25, 1896. In 1899 he moved his operation to 339 S. Spring Street, which was listed as Tally’s Phonograph & Projectoscope Parlor. As far as I’ve been able to determine, neither Spring Street location was ever operated under the name Tally’s Electric Theatre.
Tally’s Electric Theatre opened at 262 S. Main Street on April 2, 1902, and was the first location which Tally operated as only a theater, rather than as an adjuct to his phonograph parlor. It was later known as the Lyric Theatre and finally Glockner’s Automatic Theatre, the name under which it is listed at Cinema Treasures.
More details about Tally’s earliest forays into movie exhibition can be found on this page of Bill Counter’s web site Historic Los Angeles Theatres.
According to the article on this web page, the Town Theatre was built in 1938 by Dennis Cote, owner of the Cote Theatre. The Town was operated by th Cote family until 1986. In 1989, new owners altered the auditorium floor to accommodate table seating, and added food service. The house was renamed the Main Feature Theatre and Pizza Pub at that time.
The Wisconsin Historical Society provides this page about the Classic Theatre. It was built in 1919-1920, and was renamed the Classic Theatre when it began showing talking pictures in 1927. Although designed to accommodate moves, and was equipped with an organ, the house also had a stage for live theatrical performances. The building is a contributing structure to the Water Street Commercial Historic District, added tot he NRHP in 1992.
The only significant modification to the facade was a pair of stone veneer panels which have since been removed. The facade is a good example of the Prairie Style, an American (and to a lesser extent Canadian) manifestation of the late 19th-early 20th century international movement away from architectural historicism toward a more inventive, modern style, which has come to be known as Art Nouveau.
Otto Bell, the original owner of the house, was planning a theater in Sparta as early as 1916, as reported in the May 6 issue of The Moving Picture World. The architects for the project were Parkinson & Dockendorff, of La Crosse. Despite the three-year delay in construction, I think it likely that the firm’s plans were used for the Bell Theatre. Albert E. Parkinson and Bernard Dockindorff were exponents of the Prairie Style. They designed at least two other theaters, one at La Crosse and one at Waukon, Iowa.