Iowa Theater

121 N. 1st Street,
Winterset, IA 50273

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Iowa Theater

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The Iowa Theater was opened around 1931.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

StanMalone
StanMalone on November 21, 2006 at 7:41 am

I first visited this theatre in 1999 while on a visit to Winterset to see the Madison County covered bridges and the John Wayne Museum and birthplace. It is located on the east side of the town square. At the time they were playing two separate shows, a family movie at 7PM and an adult (as in Adam Sandler type adult, not XXX) feature at 9PM. Winterset is only 35 miles from Des Moines so the turnover in features here is pretty quick in order to keep the local customers from traveling to Des Moines if what they want to see is not currently playing at the local theatre.

The manager / owner was working the box office, but he was nice enough to let me in to look the place over and talk about the difficulties in running a one screen small town theatre in close proximity to a large city. Print availability on national release date and preview availability were two issues he mentioned. These seem to be problems common to most theatres is this type of setting.

The theatre itself is old and occupies a narrow storefront on the square. Like most cold weather businesses it has a double lobby. Once you enter the street doors you come to the box office. From there you go through another set of doors into the main lobby, which in this case is taken up mostly by the snack bar. The interior of the auditorium is 1950’s art deco style with two off center aisles. The outside frontage had been covered with wood siding, but the owner said that removing it and restoring the exterior to its original state was his next priority. From the look of the two pictures posted on this site it seems that he has not gotten around to it yet.

In 2005 I noticed on another theatre website that this location was listed as closed. I called the Chamber of Commerce and the lady there said that it was open and had not closed at any time during the past 6 years.

Gayle4U
Gayle4U on December 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm

PLEASE SAVE THE IOWA THEATER IN WINTERSET, IOWA! Find them on Facebook at Save the Iowa Theater. They have to go digital or close the doors…please donate to save this wonderful theater.

Chris1982
Chris1982 on September 14, 2014 at 4:36 am

It would be a real shame if the town of Winterset could not support its own Iowa Theatre. After all it is the county seat for Madison County of Bridges of Madison County fame; plus the birthplace of John Wayne is just a few blocks away. Although the theater usually presents only one film a week, it does host continuous showings of The Duke’s films during the annual John Wayne Birthday Celebration which takes place in May.

Chris1982
Chris1982 on December 11, 2014 at 12:32 am

The first listing I found on the Iowa Theatre was in 1931. Prior to that movies were shown in the High School Auditorium.

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