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. By 1920 J.H. Hostettler was the owner and in 1925 it was A.J. Diebold. It closed around 1929 as the Rialto Theatre.

Around 1936 it re-opened as the Capitol Theatre and by 1939 had been renamed Iowa Theatre. The theatre closed around 1961.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

kencmcintyre on September 17, 2007 at 6:36 am

Here is a 1949 ad from the Waterloo Courier:

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 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.

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