Capitol Theater

211 N. Third Street,
Burlington, IA 52601

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 12, 2015 at 10:31 am

JoJo_M: This comment by rebaanders of the Capitol Theater Foundation says “We are fortunate to have the original blue prints from Carl A Nelson.” (Carl A. Nelson was the original construction company.) I’d advise using the contact information on the theater’s official web site. If anybody knows where the blueprints are now it’s likely to be someone from the Foundation.

JoJo_M on April 12, 2015 at 2:48 am

I don’t know if anyone still checks this page, but I’m wondering if anybody has info on where the original blueprints for the theater ended up. I feel the need to settle the old dispute about the existence of a balcony once and for all! ;)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 11, 2014 at 10:08 am

The history page of the official web site says the Capitol now has 370 seats. The performing arts center met its projected opening date of June 1, 2012. Plans for the project were by Metzger Johnson Architects of Burlington, Iowa, and Galesburg, Illinois, though as of this year the firm is now part of Klingner Architectural Group.

Chris1982 on November 11, 2014 at 8:04 am

This should be listed as open with live performances and movies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm

The Capitol Theater now has a web site. The renovated house is scheduled to reopen on June 1.

CSWalczak on September 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm

A recent block party was recently thrown to raise funds and give tours of the theater prior to its renovation into a performing arts center: View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 8, 2010 at 4:47 am

The Capitol was designed by the Des Moines architectural firm Wetherell & Harrison. The caption on this Flickr photo page has the story.

TLSLOEWS on August 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm

That is good news DPI,from the photos I have seen looks nice from the outside,good luck to them.

DPIdirector on August 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm

The non-profit Capitol Theater Foundation was awarded a $1 million I-JOBS grant for the renovation of the historic building. Under the terms of the grant, the theater will be reopened in 2012! View link

kencmcintyre on April 12, 2007 at 12:11 pm

If you have a photo saved as a jpg file on your desktop, you can sign on to photobucket and upload the jpg into your photobucket album. It will then be an url that you can post onto the CT page.

rebaanders on April 12, 2007 at 11:51 am

I last posted on 4/1/05 and today I read the posting by Dougman dated 7/26/06. That posting is very informative but I felt that I should correct some inaccuracies.

The Capitol Theater was purchased by the Capitol Theater Foundation as I reported in my previous post. This is not the same as the Friends of the Capitol Theater. I have been president of the Capitol Theater Foundation since its inception.

We have completely rebuilt the marquee but have done nothing to the interior. There is no full stage, no dressing rooms, no orchestra pit. This theater was built as a cinema house. There is nor has
there ever been an elevator in the theater. We are fortunate to have the original blue prints from Carl A Nelson.

We will be renovating the Theater and adjacent building into a mult-use performing arts center. We plan to show movies but will be expanding the stage and adding dresssing room in the adjacent building.

I wish I knew how to post a picture to this page as it is very attractive with the renovated marquee.

Doug4422 on June 15, 2006 at 9:43 pm

To inform you all, I am from the city of Burlington, IA, where the Capitol Theater is located, recently, they completely rebuilt the marquee to it’s ORIGINAL set up, and yes, the marquee is used, primarly, it’s rented out to announce retirements, graduations, job promotions, or other things of interest to certain people, and yes, they do turn it on occasionaly, the set up consists of the letters on the top of the marquee, which spelled the name of the theater, in the similar art deco design, painted in yellow, and set up with yellow neon lights, the rest of the marquee had yellow, and blue neon lights, and standard clear theater style “chase” bulbs that bordered the sign that was the centerpiece of the marquee, however, they still, as of yet, placed the bottom sheet metal into it, exposing the wooden 2x4 cross members that gave it the support needed to withstand the weather in the area … currently, they are working on the inside of the theater, attempting to restore it to its former glory, when it was first built … btw, the seating information here is wrong, it doesn’t seat 700, it seats 650.

Something else of note, the theater was deemed structurally sound by an independant firm that had come in, and checked the building out, it was bought by a non profit orginization, called Friends of The Capitol Theater, in 2005, and the rebuilding of the interior was underway, incidentally, it was the first theater in the city to have both a movie screen, and a full stage, and orchestra pit, although the stage only saw an hours worth of use, when it first opened in 1937, it was, and is, still there, as is the attached dressing rooms on the south end of the theater, and a still working elevator, that could take anyone with physical limitations to the mezzanine level, where a smoking lounge was located, that, incidentally, was closed in the mid 60’s, when smoking was banned in theaters by the federal government, due to fire hazards, it was also the first moviehouse in the city to be built specifically for talking pictures, it was closed in 1977, as the article here states, by a multiplex that had come in the Westland Mall, called the West I & II theaters, unfortunately, the seats were pulled out, and placed in a playhouse on the other end of town, called The Player’s Workshop, the theater was nearly completely gutted when it was closed, everything was taken out, and placed in the new theaters in the mall, the only things left, were the large red letters that adorned the marquee, announcing what was playing that day, the signs that hearlded patrons that the balcony was closed, and some old movie posters that have been long destroyed by mold, and mildew.

The current Mall 8 theaters still have one holdover that was once a part of The Capitol, the hanging lights behind the ticket counter.

kencmcintyre on May 24, 2006 at 3:45 pm

Here are minutes from the Burlington City Council in October 2005, discussing restoration of the Capitol:

rebaanders on April 1, 2005 at 6:24 am

The Capitol Theater has been purchased by the Capitol Theater Foundation when the intend to restore it to a movie theater/performing arts center.
The original architect was Wetherall and Harrison and it was built by Carl A Nelson Company. It opened in 1937.

deleted user
[Deleted] on February 17, 2005 at 6:34 pm

A poor attempt at humor. I do understand that there are many a novice member here. A simple task as adding the number of screens is not too difficult to do even for a young child. If a theatre has been closed for years then in all likely hood it only had one screen.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 17, 2005 at 8:06 am

Tom, this site is a compilation of information provided by volunteers, working from their own memories, newspaper ads, archives, and so on.

Some of the information may turn out to be inaccurate, in which case the proper response is to simply post better information. If the inaccurate information is in the theatre description, then submit the “Contact Us” form specifying a Correction.

In any event, there is no need to insult other participants in these discussions.

And if, when you add a theatre, you don’t know how many screens it once had (for instance, because it’s been closed for years), it’s better to enter “Unknown” than a possibly inaccurate “1 screen”.

RobertR on February 17, 2005 at 5:42 am

What an awesome facade, do they ever talk about fixing this up?

deleted user
[Deleted] on February 16, 2005 at 5:04 pm

Do any of the theatres that you post here have screens? Even if they are former theatres they must have had at least one screen.