Capitol Theatre

193 S. Central Avenue,
Hartley, IA 51346

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Capitol Hartley Movie Poster Circa 1957

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Capitol Theatre opened in the early-1930’s seating was listed at around 300. The theatre lasted until the mid-1950’s when it closed. I couldn’t find if this was operated by a chain or was an independent.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

JoniMac
JoniMac on October 6, 2014 at 6:35 am

My Father’s family, the MacDowell’s owned and operated this theater. What a nice surprise to find this site!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 6, 2014 at 3:48 pm

The Capitol was mentioned in the Iowa “Changes in Ownership” column of the July 1, 1929, issue of The Film Daily: “ Hartley — Capitol, sold to C. A. Sartorius by A. M. Inman.” Mr. Sartorius sent in a couple of capsule movie reviews for the “What the Picture Did for Me” column of Motion Picture Herald in 1934.

Someone named H. Midland was operating a theater at Hartley in 1913 according to the December 27 issue of The Moving Picture World, but the name of the theater was not given. The May 6, 1916, issue of the same publication mentioned a Rex Theatre in Hartley, and it might have been the same house that H. Midland was operating in 1913.

The Capitol might have closed for a while in the 1950s, but must have reopened later as it was advertising in the newspaper at least as late as December 30, 1976.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm

A list of historic theaters in Iowa prepared in 2009 (pdf here) has this ambiguous line for the address of the Capitol: “193 South Central Avenue or 314 South Central Avenue.” It also gives an alternate name for the structure as the P. A. Leese Building. Here is a photo of the P. A. Leese Building, which is at 193 S. Central Avenue. I’m not sure where the address 314 originated, but it seems an unlikely location for a theater, being on the other side of the railroad tracks from Hartley’s small business district and adjacent to a large grain elevator.

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