Iowa Theatre

735 Avenue A,
Fort Madison, IA 52627

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The Iowa Theatre opened sometime in the mid 30’s with seating listed at 599. The theatre closed in the early 50’s. I found information that it was operated at one time by Central States Theatres.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 10, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Boxoffice of December 12, 1953, said that the Iowa Theatre at Fort Madison was one of three theaters in the state that had closed the previous week. The item gave some of the history of the house, which had been the oldest theater in Fort Madison.

Prior to becoming the Iowa Theatre in the 1930s, it had operated as the Grand Theatre and then the Columbia Theatre, being for several decades a venue for touring companies of stage productions. The building had originally been erected in the 1880s as a skating rink. The house was listed as the Grand in Julius Cahn’s guide for 1900-1901. It then had 908 seats.

JudithK on July 17, 2011 at 12:20 pm

My Mom lived in Fort Madison, Iowa during the 1940’s-early 1950’s. An avid moviegoer, she mentioned the Iowa Theatre frequently. Thanks for the information about it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm

JudithK: Did your mom ever mention anything about the location of this theater? The Avenue A address Cinema Treasures currently gives is in a low density residential district out on the edge of town, which seems to me an unlikely location for a theater built in the 1880s.

I’m wondering if maybe the original source was an old book with muddy printing, and maybe the theater was on Avenue H but the printed H looked like an A. The 700 block of Avenue H is downtown, and still has several old buildings dating from the late 19th century, including the old Elks Lodge at 719.

Unfortunately, it looks like 735 Avenue H is now a parking lot, so if the Iowa Theatre was there it desn’t exist anymore. But wherever the theater was (or is,) it seems very unlikely that it was ever on Avenue A.

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