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The Wonderland was located at 112 N. Independence on the west side of the downtown square. It is currently One Page at a Time, a scrapbooking store. I made the initial post and was mistaken about a law firm being there now. It was a single-screen theatre with 310 seats. The 1911 Sanborn Insurance map shows “moving pictures” at this location but there is no such description on the 1917 Sanborn map.
Ray, In your post on 10-8-07 you said the Bison in Shawnee and the Aztec in Enid “were sister houses, designed by Carl Boller.” In my research on the Aztec I haven’t been able to verify the identity of that theater’s architect. May I ask the source of your information? Thanks for your help!
Thanks for the great article, Tinseltoes! I stand corrected on the opening date for the Cherokee. I’m not sure where I found the 1928 date but it may have been in reference to whatever theater was in that location prior to the opening of the Cherokee. I just talked to a business owner in downtown Enid who remembers his father doing a promotion for his business in conjunction with a movie showing at the Cherokee in 1947.
Thanks, Robert! I’ll check it out. I sure appreciate everyone who has shared information about the Aztec/Esquire. We’ll have a definitive history yet!
No, the photo showing the vacant lot is the one resulting from when this theater was originally added to this site. The building where the Rialto was located is still standing and is occupied by a business called C.M. Miller Gallery of Gifts. I’ll be visiting with them this week to see if they know any of the history of the building. I also have a picture of the Rialto from its early days and will try to get permission to post it here.
The Rialto was located at 126 W. Randolph on the north side of the square in downtown Enid. It is listed in the 1926/27 Enid City Directory. It was a one-screen theatre. The front of the building today has been completely covered with a facade.
Not to quibble, but both of the links in the 10/07/07 posts are coming up as dead links for me so I’m not sure what they showed when the posts were placed on the Cinema Treasures site. The person who originally made the comment about “the Cubist style building with the green awning” in the 03/08/11 post mis-identified the location of the Aztec. The street view that comes up is looking north toward the opposite side of W. Randolph which would be across the street and a bit to the west from the correct location of the Aztec. The only theater located on the north side of West Randolph in that block was the Arcadia at 226 W. Randolph. And the only link to the Oklahoma Historical Society (01/27/07) shows seven photos when the phrase “Aztec Theatre” is typed in. Four of those photos are of the Aztec in Enid and the exteriors are showing the building that was located at 213/215 W. Randolph. The other three photos are of the Aztec Theatre in Vinita, OK. I have been to the Oklahoma Historical Society archives in Oklahoma City and will be going back again. If I find additional information that contradicts or clarifies anything I’ve posted, I will happily share it. My desire is to present the most factual account possible of the old theaters in my hometown. Thanks for all of the great information being shared!
My research on the Aztec is not yet complete but I have a special interest in the building as I’ll explain later. Here’s what I know so far. The Aztec opened in 1927 at 215 W. Randolph in the same location as the photo above. It was originally at least a four-story building. Currently there is no 215 W. Randolph. The former theater space is 213 and the building next door to the west is 217. The Aztec building burned in March of 1969 but, even before that, the structure may have already been downsized to two stories. It operated as the Aztec until 1951 and was managed by the Griffith Amusement Company from 1933 until 1949 and by Griffith’s successor, Video Independent Theaters from 1950 until 1980. The Aztec ceased operation in 1951 or 1952 and became the Esquire Theater after that. In 1940 and 1943 the theater had 815 seats and in 1950 it was listed with 1,147 seats, probably because of the addition of a balcony. Griffith and Video Independent listed their Enid offices at various times as 213 and 215 W. Randolph.
A group of us in Enid are attempting to bring back the Esquire Theater as a sub-run, multi-use operation. As part of that effort, we are doing as much research as possible concerning all of the old theaters in Enid. We’ll continue to post information as it becomes available.
This is interesting. The 1937 Enid City Directory lists a theatre at 119 S. Grand called Gray’s which was managed by John S. Bonner. I wonder if John Gray built Gray’s Theatre, sold it in 1938 (to whoever opened the Royal Theatre) and opened the Rivoli, especially since the space where the Rita Theatre had been located at 115 E. Broadway (where the Rivoli eventually opened) was vacant in 1937? The two theatres would have been located within two blocks and just around the corner from each other.
That does sound like the Royal on the west side of the square (Independence St.) in downtown Enid. Thanks for the additional information. I wouldn’t have even thought of looking in the yearbooks so please continue to provide information as you find it. This is great!
Fantastic information from the high school yearbooks! Were you looking specifically for information about theatres in them or was it one of those “happy coincidences”? Regardless of the reason, thanks for sharing it. My research so far says the Aztec opened in 1927 but it may have been earlier. Also, the Griffith Amusement Company operated the Aztec, Chief and Cherokee theatres in the 1940’s and early 1950’s.
The 1913 Enid City Directory lists a Royal Theatre (single screen, 300 seats) at 124 N. Independence (one block west and one block north of the Royal on S. Grand. The Quill ad may be referring to that theatre. The only other city directory I could find was dated 1926-27 and it doesn’t have a listing for a Royal Theatre.
The Royal Theatre was in business from 1938 to 1950. It was operated by the Griffith Amusement Company in 1945 and Video Independent Theaters, Inc. in 1950.
The Rivoli was located at 115 E. Broadway and was in business from 1938 to 1942. It was operated at least part of that time by the Griffith Amusement Company. The location is now a parking lot across the street south from the Broadway Tower. According to Enid City Directories, in 1935 this was the Rita Theatre and in 1937 the building was vacant.
The Arcadia, located at 226 W. Randolph, operated from at least 1933 to 1943. It is not listed in the 1926-27 Enid City Directory and there are no other directories available at the Enid Public Library for the intervening years. The Griffith Amusement Company (its Enid headquarters was across the street at the Aztec Theatre) ran the Arcadia at least part of the time it was open. The current occupant of the building is the Boomerang Restaurant.
The Mecca was in business from at least 1926 (earliest reference I could find) until 1950. It was operated by the Shields Theatres from 1946 (possibly earlier) until 1950.
The Cherokee, located at 117 S. Grand, was in business from 1928 to 1959. It was operated by the Griffith Amusement Company from 1940 to 1945, Shields Theatres from 1945 to 1950 and Video Independent Theatres, Inc. (formerly Griffith) from 1950 to 1959. The 1952 and 1954 Enid City Directories list the Cherokee’s address as 115 S. Grand.