Capitol Theatre

330 W. Third Street,
Davenport, IA 52801

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Capitol Theatre

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The Capitol Theatre, typical of most movie palaces, began life on December 25, 1920 as a mixed use vaudeville and movies theatre, and later began showing movies only.

On each side of the main floor auditorium, which originally seated 2,500, it featured alcoves containing a grand piano on one side and a harp on the other. It also had a working Wicks pipe organ, which was maintained by the Theatre Organ Society. One of the resident organists was Carol M. Allbee. On the walls in the lobby, foyer, and upstairs were paintings, which were retouched in the late-1960’s. By 1941 the Capitol Theatre was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary A.H. Blank.

In the early-1970’s, the theatre switched to Spanish language films. During the 1980’s, it was also used as a Christian Center. From 1990 to 1994, it was a concert hall for country, jazz, and small touring acts, and then for local productions of ballet, community, and college theatre.

Recently, Scott Community College was endowed with the building that includes the Capitol Theatre. It was used as a non-profit rental hall for concerts, theatre, lectures, etc., but was closed in the Fall of 2010.

Contributed by Mike Geater

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

mwspenge
mwspenge on May 8, 2007 at 5:28 pm

The Capitol is in need of more than a coat of paint. The roof is leaking over stage right, most of the upper left balcony has lost its plaster on the side wall, the paintings on the auditorium ceiling have damage, the basement usally has a ½ in. of water etc. In addition the lobby has one unisex restroom, the mens restroom is located in the basement and the second floor may not have any that are working.

Many issues must be addressed if this house is to survive. All efforts to entice a local theatre performance group to make the Capitol “Home” have failed, evan though the QC area has a symphony, two ballets, an opera co. and a fistfull of performance groups. The Adler has crowded the Capitol out, at least funding-wise. The community will have to want to keep the theatre alive.

jstep
jstep on January 10, 2008 at 4:21 pm

A company called Nvents has just taken over management for the Capitol Theater. The bathrooms have been expanded plus a bar, more lighting and stage improvements have all been added.
Here’s a link to the website.
http://thecapdavenport.com/

It looks like it’s going to be a more of a concert venue.
At least it’s being used!

Davenport
Davenport on June 3, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Hey gang,

I’m doing some research on a documentary project on the Winter Dance Party tour of 1959 and the troupe’s (which included Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper) stop at the Capitol Theatre on January 29th, 1959.

Please e-mail me if you know of anyone who was there or could have been there. It would be very, very appreciated. Thank you. It is a gorgeous theatre with such a rich history.

E-mail address:

Thank you!
Sevan

spectrum
spectrum on September 28, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Looks like they’re planning to do more renovations beyond lobby and restrooms – primarily in the backstage area.

Also they’ve expanded beyond concerts; their current schedule includes ballet and opera as well.

riverboatqueen51
riverboatqueen51 on April 15, 2009 at 10:07 am

I have many fond memories of the Capitol Theatre when my husband and I worked there. To me the highlight of the season was the “Silent Movie Nights” where a guest theatre organ artist was brought in by the local theatre organ group. A theatre organ concert, sing a long and silent movie accompanied by the organ was included in the ticket price. I also remember the local organ group playing a mini concert for the senior citizens on Wednesday afternoons which also included a special old movie usually a musical. My husband wanting to make it affordable for the pensioners and only charged $1.00 admission. They loved it!

wisdoug
wisdoug on October 8, 2010 at 1:31 pm

As reported on its own website, the Capitol Theater is once again closed. It’s a true shame this gem can’t be successfully operated.

Mikki
Mikki on January 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I see this building has all been but abandoned. What a shame. I am 63 years old and this was the cream of the crop of places to go as a teenage to see Elvis, Buddy Holly, and all the other greats in movies. John Wayne and Roy Rogers. What happened to our society that such grand and out of this world this building was to so many of us Iowa Farm-girls? Why it was a total dream to walk into this glamorous, exciting place so you could watch your favorite heroines and hero’s come to life on the giant screens of yesterday. Let’s not let this building go to waste, surely there is someone or some group that will or could bring this theater back to it’s former glory. I use to run my hands down the railing to go to the restroom, and touch the carpet, the shiny walls in the bathroom. I mean your reading this from a gal who didn’t even have socks to wear at 10-12 years old that hadn’t been through a couple cousins before me already.. My Dad was disabled from bad heart condition aggravated by shrapnel he still had in his body from WW11 and we never even had a soda pop till I was 14 years old. Please let’s show our grandkids how beautiful the Capitol Theater was back in 1956 and how much it meant to us 60+ farm girls in Iowa..

Therese M.
Therese M. on February 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Carol M. Allbee mentioned above, she Performed back in 1974 on the Pipe Organ that was at the Capital Theater, in Davenport, Iowa. Carol was a professional Pianist and Organist all her life. She began at age 4 years old, Detroit, Michigan.

Memorial of her is found on http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6202479

By: Therese T. 2014

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