Willis Wood Theater

118 W. 11th Street,
Kansas City, MO 64105

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midtown_kc on February 3, 2015 at 4:23 pm

In 1923, the Kansas City Athletic Club acquired an unfinished, 22-story building at Eleventh Street and Baltimore Avenue , former location of the Willis Wood Theater. In 1932, however, during the Great Depression, the Continental Hotel Company took over the 22-story clubhouse, leaving only the six topmost floors devoted to the club itself. For a period in the 1960s, the hotel contained a branch of the Playboy Club. In 1982, the building was remodeled and renamed as the Mark Twain Tower, an office building. The club retaining the rights to the top six floors.

midtown_kc on February 3, 2015 at 4:01 pm

The theatre was not doing good business at the time of the fire. Odd how fires seem to start in businesses that are losing money.

TLSLOEWS on May 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Very short life span for this theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Here’s a report by the fire chief of Kansas City describing the fire that destroyed the Willis Wood Theatre in 1917:

“Willis Wood Theatre, northeast corner Eleventh and Baltimore, January 8th, 1917. The first alarm was received at 12:50 A. M., followed by a second alarm at 12:51 A. M. The building was a three-story brick theatre owned by the Willis Wood estate, and occupied by Messrs. Richards & Flynn, as a moving picture theatre. Upon arrival of the Department the fire had spread throughout the entire building. The fire was practically confined to the theatre, with nominal exposure losses on the Home Telephone Company’s building and the Kansas City Southern Railway building, adjoining. The loss on building and contents was $87,296.51, the total insurance being $551.549.82. Eight single streams and two turret streams were used in extinguishing the fire; cause, unknown.”

Roloff on March 26, 2007 at 5:55 am

The postcard can be seen here View link

Roloff on April 9, 2006 at 3:27 pm

I have a postcard for this theatre that’s different from the ones in the links above, or the one at the kclibrary. It’s pretty much taken from the same angle, and the lot on the right is still empty (trees). “THE SULTAN OF SULU” is advertised, probably the 1902 musical comedy by George Ade. Which means the picture was taken in it’s opening days!

mlind on July 18, 2005 at 2:41 pm

Another view from 1908 View link

teecee on June 1, 2005 at 2:16 pm

Print for sale at this link:
View link

mlind on February 15, 2005 at 5:59 pm

Correct link for above website (Bygone Theaters) View link

mlind on February 15, 2005 at 5:16 pm

Another postcard view: View link

RobbKCity on December 28, 2004 at 6:31 am

If there was ever a front exterior that should have been saved and reused as the base entrance foran office tower, it is the exterior of this theater.