Iowa Theatre

608 Commercial Street,
Waterloo, IA 50701

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Iowa Theatre

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Opened as the Grand Theatre on December 20, 1914 with seating listed as 850. The original owner was J.E. Bryant. On August 25, 1915 it was renamed Family Theatre. In August 1918 it became the Garden Theatre. By 1920 J.H. Hostettler was the owner and in 1922 it was renamed Rialto Theatre. In 1925 it was taken over by A.J. Diebold. It closed in August 18, 1928. Taken over by new operators it reopened as the Royal Theatre on February 24, 1929 but closed as a silent movie theatre in August 1929. In 1932 it became a church and they occupied the building until September 1935.

On September 25, 1935 it re-opened as the Capitol Theatre with Grace Mooore in “One Night of Love”. It was closed at the end of May 1938. On December 25, 1938 it reopened as the Iowa Theatre. The theatre closed July 4, 1961 with Glenn Ford in “The Americano” & Judy Canova in “The WAC from Walla Walla”.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 17, 2007 at 6:36 am

Here is a 1949 ad from the Waterloo Courier:
http://tinyurl.com/2nbpbm

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 31, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Our history for this theater is a bit off, due to two different houses in Waterloo having been called the Iowa Theatre. The house at 608 Commercial Street was never called the Plaza, but it did have the following aka’s: Grand, Family, Garden, Rialto, and Capitol.

This handy list of theaters from the Waterloo Public Library shows that the theater at 608 Commercial Street was first listed in the city directory in 1915 as the Grand Theatre. In 1916 and 1918 it is listed as the Family Theatre. From 1919 through 1921 it is listed as the Garden Theatre.

No theater is listed for this address in the 1922-23 directory, but in 1924 it reappears as the Rialto Theatre. It was still the Rialto in 1928, but no directory is available for 1929, and no theater is listed for the address again until 1936, when it appears as the location of the Capitol Theatre. The name Iowa Theatre first appears at this address in the 1939 directory, and remains through 1961. After that, no theater is listed at 608 Commercial Street.

During most of the 1930s the name Iowa Theatre belonged to the house that opened in 1914 as the Plaza and became the Orpheum sometime in 1938.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Also, it was the Plaza/Iowa/Orpheum on Fourth Street that was designed by architect Mortimer Cleveland. So far I’ve been unable to discover the architect of the Grand/etc/New Iowa.

Hagerstrom
Hagerstrom on March 21, 2014 at 8:06 am

According to the 1928 city directory, my grandparents Mr & Mrs. Edward R. Hagerstrom had a popcorn business located next door to this place at 610 Commercial St. My father told me it was a popcorn wagon.

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on January 20, 2018 at 4:55 am

The Grand Theatre became the Family Theatre on August 25, 1915 with “The Shooting of Dan McGrew.” In August of 1918, the Family became the Garden Theatre.

The Garden Theatre conducted a name change contest announcing on January 21, 1922 the switch to the Rialto Theatre. The Rialto ceased showing movies on August 19, 1928 opting not to convert to sound and doing limited live events.

Under new operators, a five year lease was signed and the theatre was relaunched as the Royal Theatre on February 24, 1929. Silent presentations didn’t draw crowds and the Royal closed in August of 1929.

It became a church in 1932 through September of 1935. On September 25, 1935 it relaunched as the Capitol Theatre with “One More Night of Love.” The Capitol closed at the end of May of 1938.

On Christmas Day, 1938, it relaunched as the Iowa Theatre. The theatre closed July 4, 1961 with Glenn Ford in “The Americano” & Judy Canova in “The WAC from Walla Walla”.

Previous – Royal Theatre

Other use – Church

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