Capitol Theatre

330 W. 3rd Street,
Davenport, IA 52801

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Showing 1 - 25 of 30 comments

DavidZornig on April 21, 2017 at 6:39 pm

1937 photo added courtesy of the Retro Quad Cities Facebook page.

Therese M.
Therese M. on February 28, 2014 at 1:31 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

By: Therese T. 2014

Mikki on January 26, 2012 at 6:17 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..

wisdoug on October 8, 2010 at 11:31 am

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.

riverboatqueen51 on April 15, 2009 at 8:07 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!

spectrum on September 28, 2008 at 10:41 am

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.

Davenport on June 3, 2008 at 9:27 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!

jstep on January 10, 2008 at 2:21 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.

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

mwspenge on May 8, 2007 at 3:28 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 on May 7, 2007 at 10:35 am

Scott Community College and the City of Davenport have actually been utilizing this theater. A few acts are booked every month. It could use a few coats of paint but it’s still very beautiful on the inside.

mwspenge on May 7, 2007 at 10:27 am

If anyone is in Davenport, and has time, the lobby of the Kahl Educational Center is open most days that Scott Community College is in session. The Lobby is quite decortive and the elevators are real fast, (fun) and in the lobby office, are set of Prof. larg. format (10x20 in?) photos of the Capitol auditorium in full color and well lighted. I think they were shot in the 70’s. Wish Scott College would re-produce them as posters. Glad other folks know and care about this fine theatre.

PaulWolter on May 5, 2007 at 2:59 pm

It’s too bad they don’t mention Rapp & Rapp!

PaulWolter on May 5, 2007 at 4:17 am

Thanks for the info. I see there is a listing at “the other cinema website” for the Columbia as well as some pictures. Someone needs to register the Columbia here. How sad that it was demolished to make a parking lot for its younger sister!

The later date of the Capitol would explain its resemblance better to the Central Park Theatre which now would have been built before the it.

mwspenge on May 4, 2007 at 6:02 pm

The Columbia and the Capitol both existed, the Capitol has always been the Capitol. They faced each other at 3rd and Ripley.
Also I was wrong about the paintings in the Capitol, they were wall-papered over in the 80’s while the theatre was leased by the “President” Gambling boat. I don’t think the Wicks pipe organ will be reinstalled. No money/no interest. Too bad.

PaulWolter on May 4, 2007 at 9:30 am

The pictures of the interior over at “the other cinema website” look a lot like the Central Park Theatre which Rapp & Rapp did in Chicago in 1917.

PaulWolter on May 4, 2007 at 9:25 am

Is it possible this theatre was orignally called The Columbia? The Rockford Morning Star for Sunday, February 31, 1915 states the following in an article heralding the opening of the Palace Theatre in Rockford, Illinois:

“…Messrs. George and C. L. Rapp have specialized in theater designing and among their latest masterpieces at the New Oprheum in Champaign, the Orpheum in Quincy, the Columbia in Davenport, Ia., the New Palace in Fort Wayne, Ind., the Hippodrome in Chicago, the Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, Wis., and the Palace in Rockford. They also have theaters under construction in Louisville, Ky. and Grand Rapids, Mich.”

kencmcintyre on November 20, 2006 at 4:47 pm

On 7/24/49, the Davenport Democrat-Leader advertised Clark Gable and Alexis Smith at the Capitol in MGM’s “Any Number Can Play”, plus a cartoon and late news. “The Stratton Story” with Jimmy Stewart would start a few days later. Other theaters in Davenport at that time were the State, Esquire, Garden, Uptown, Bel-Air, RKO Orpheum and Sunset.

mwspenge on October 3, 2005 at 5:22 am

Whoops. Got busy and….

jstep on September 26, 2005 at 9:30 am

It’s good to hear that things are being done to preserve this theatre. I really wish the City of Davenport would utilize this building more. I feel that the true gem in downtown Davenport is the Capitol and not the Adler but all the attention and renovations and money go to the Adler Theatre. Don’t get me wrong, the Adler is beautiful but I would love to see the Capitol brought back to it’s former glory.

Thanks for the update, mwspenge.

mwspenge on August 13, 2005 at 5:31 pm

To answer jstep about the extent of Scott Comm. Coll.expenses is that they tuck-pointed the north side of the theatre, the source of the interior plaster damage on that inside wall(north). The entire 10 story Kahl building has been acid and pressure washed(5 shades whiter now)all city code problems fixed, the missing stone-work has been re-created on the Kahl facade. The grand drape has been replaced, emergency lighting has been installed thoughout the theatre and back-stage, dressing rooms and basement. The pin-rail has been re-roped and ballasted. Lighting is fairly new, the house lights are still on the old Westinghouse board, stage lighting controlled from 1st balcony location w/ new board and fixtures. The original Knabe 9'concert grand piano is on the house left aux. stage. the Capitol also had a 6' grand that is still in the Quad cities, in a local restaurant. The Harp was plaster fake. I saw it in the 70’s, don’t know where it is. My e-mail is if any info needed or becomes available.

mwspenge on August 13, 2005 at 7:31 am

I have been in every corner of the Capitol and I can’t remember any lobby paintings, ever. I have been a part of the organ crew since 1972 and the organ is now being re-installed. It was my understanding that the Capitol was a movie house first, stage was added to the theatre after a few years. If you examine the alley walls there is a line where the brick work was spliced in, right behind the line of the projection screen. I am happy to know others like William and jstep are watching this situation. I hope you live in the QC area. The reference to Buddy holly is the “Winter Dance Party” and this show was Jan 29, 1959. Clear lake happened shortly after. The main floor was re-seated in the early 70’s and the house seats 1,583 now. The last dozen or so rows of seats below the projection booth had been walled off at that time also, and are still in place behind the wall. Both Simplex 35mm projectors are still in the booth, will need work to use them but all parts are there.