Rockhill Theatre

4608 Troost Avenue,
Kansas City, MO 64110

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Rockhill Theatre

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The Rockhill Theatre opened in 1923 and was one of the Boller Brothers designed theatres. It was located on Troost Avenue at Brush Creek Boulevard. It has since been demolished. The only remnants of the once beautiful theatre is part of the front entrance with the dome above the building. I could not find the time line other than the opening date.

Any further information on this theatre would be appreciated.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

claydoh77 on June 28, 2005 at 3:02 am

Unfortunately on those you added, I didn’t have a lot. I added what little info I had to a few of them. I always have an eye out for more info on KC theatres & when I find it, I’ll be sure to add it.

jhighley on December 26, 2005 at 9:31 am

In 1958, the newly-formed Kansas City Lyric Opera Theater began performing at The Rockhill Theater, and staged operas in English there for 10 years until the theater was gutted by fire.

RobbKCity on January 2, 2006 at 11:01 pm

According to Mary Bagley’s book, “The Front Row: Missouri’s Grand Theaters,” the Rockhill seated 762 in the theater and 50 in the balcony. She lists the date of construction as 1918.

MovieMgr on April 25, 2006 at 7:41 am

I was the last Mgr. of the Rockhill Theatre. I worked for a small chain of Art Theatres from 1963-1972. The company was Art Theatre Guild, Inc. Founded by Louis K.Sher in Bexley, Ohio in 1955. The company moved its HQ to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1963. I was promoted to manager in 1964 and sent to Tucson to operate the Loft Theatre, which I also lived in. I also managed the Fine Art in Fresno, The Rockhill in KC, the Cinema in Hollywood, the Art Theatre in Dayton along with the Little Art in Yellow Springs, Ohio and The Bexley (then first twin theatre in America) in Bexley, Ohio along with the World Theatre in Columbus and the Opera House in Granville, Ohio.
I moved to KC in January of 1967 to replace the Rockhill’s current manager. Shortly after Russell Patterson and the Kansas City Lyric Opera completed their ‘67 season, the manager I replaced went into Bill’s Bar (part of the Rockhill Theatre Building) made his way to the men’s room where he forced open a small door and made entry to the back stage area of the theatre. He set the curtains on fire and the Kansas City Fire Dept. spent 12 hours fighting the blaze. The ex-manager, after being fired from the Rockhill, went to Kansas City, KS, worked for another chain and eventually set fire to that theatre. He was convicted of arson and served time in Kansas. I do not know if he was ever prosecuted for the Rockhill fire. My wife and I spent last weekend (4/21-24/2006 in KC and I was saddened to see how run down that area of Troost between 46 and 47th has become. Feel free to contact me if you nhave any questions. I suggest you look up the Bexley Theatre in Ohio for some interesting reading and photo.
email –

RobbKCity on December 23, 2006 at 1:14 am

Troost is beginning to make a comeback. Some of the retail strip along Troost north of Linwood has slowly been cleaned up. There was a volunteer effort to plant tulips along Troost this past autumn to bring some landscaping and beauty back to the street. There appears to be an effort to build community support for restoring the Apollo Theater on Troost just south of Linwood as well.

The voters in Kansas City recently passed a light rail project as well, and it will run along some parts of Troost. Hopefully, this will help spur some development along parts of it.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 23, 2006 at 2:03 am

Listed in the 1943 edition of Film Daily Yearbook with a seating capacity of 1,466, the Rockhill Theatre was then operated by Fox Midwest Amusement Corp.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 14, 2009 at 3:24 am

Fox Midwest’s Rockhill Theatre had been closed for over a year when, in 1956, it was purchased and reopened as an art house by Louis Sher and Edward Shulman. A $75,000 renovation and redecoration was carried out by the Teichert Studios of Chicago. The seating capacity was reduced by nearly half, to 720, with new 21-inch seats in 44-inch rows. Decoration throughout the house was simplified, and a coffee bar was installed in place of the lobby concession stand. The new screen had a 3 degree curve and flexible masking to accommodate a variety of aspect ratios.

Boxoffice Magazine of September 1, 1956, announced that the renovation project had been completed ahead of schedule and that, after a benefit premier on September 5, the Rockhill would have its public opening the following day with “The Proud and the Beautiful.” On the 19th, the house would participate in the world premier of “Lust For Life,” the Vincent Van Gogh biopic which featured paintings loaned from the collection of the nearby William Rockhill Nelson Art Gallery.

L.L. Thatcher penned a three-page article about the Rockhill’s renovation for Boxoffice of October 20, 1956. There are several photographs illustrating the article.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 2, 2011 at 9:03 pm

ATG what a story,guy never should have been a manager,Thankgoodness no one was killed.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 12, 2012 at 9:42 am

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Linkrot repair: The October 20, 1956, Boxoffice article about the remodeling of the Rockhill Theatre now begins at this link.

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