Moose Theatre

34 W. Monroe Street,
Norwalk, OH 44857

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Located next to Norwalk Armory on W. Monroe Street & Case Avenue. The Gilger Theatre was built in 1903 as a playhouse. It was converted to a movie theatre after the First World War, and was later purchased by the Schine chain. By 1941 it had been renamed Moose Theatre. The theatre was destroyed in a fire on February 6, 1959.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 3, 2007 at 12:17 am

Some boxing matches took place at the Gilger in 1919.

1919-09-22 Mickey Brooks Win- Billy Murray Gilger Theater, Norwalk, OH, USA NWS 6 6
~ Referee: Toughey Ramser ~
Newspaper decision from the Sandusky Register

1919-09-22 Cyclone Yelsky Win- Johnny Saunders Gilger Theater, Norwalk, OH, USA NWS 6 6
~ Referee: Toughey Ramser ~
Newspaper decision from the Sandusky Register

1919-09-22 George Martin D- W. A. Shibley Gilger Theater, Norwalk, OH, USA NWS 4 4
~ Referee: Toughey Ramser ~
Newspaper decision from the Sandusky Register

kencmcintyre on February 3, 2007 at 1:25 am

That’s a great name for a boxing referee.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 7, 2007 at 2:20 am

When the fire destroyed this theater in 1959, was it still known as the Gilger Theater? I found a Moose Theater in Norwalk, Ohio that was located at the end of Case and Monroe Streets. It also was destroyed by fire in the late 1950s. I was going to add the Moose Theater, but now I’m not sure if I should.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 7, 2007 at 3:05 am

This is an Ebay link. There is a postcard for sale that is supposed to show the Gilger Theater in 1908.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 24, 2009 at 7:43 am

Boxoffice Magazine ran an item about the fire in the February 16, 1959, issue, and refers to the Gilger Theatre Building, rather than Gilger Theatre. It said the theater had been in use as a warehouse for several years, but didn’t say what name it had been using before closing.

A brief notice of the death of William Gilger was published in Boxoffice on February 14, 1948. This item said that he had built the Gilger Theatre in 1903 and had sold it following WWI.

I’ve found the Moose Theatre mentioned in issues of Boxoffice from 1939, 1943, and 1944, but there’s nothing in these items to indicate whether or not it was the same theater as the Gilger.

A Rootsweb page mentions Mary Pickford’s “Coquette” playing at the moose Theatre in Norwalk in 1929. There was also a postcard captioned “Moose Theatre and Armory” for sale on eBay, but the image is gone. The eBay image for the Gilger Theatre postcard Lost Memory linked to above is also gone, so there’d be nothing to compare it with anyway.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 25, 2009 at 12:27 am

Here is another link to a postcard view of the Gilger Theater building. The only theater listed in 1955 for Norwalk, Ohio is the New Norwalk Theater which is not this theater. In 1950 there is a Moose Theater and a New Norwalk Theater listed and again, no Gilger Theater is listed. Going back to 1930, the only theater listed for Norwalk is the Moose Theater.

A theater organ was installed in a Moose Theater in Norwalk, Ohio in 1927. A note concerning the Moose Theater organ reads in part, “The organ was most certainly removed from the theatre prior to its being sold to a local fabricator. Unfortunately during the tenure, the theatre was burned and the remains of the building demolished. This occured during the late 1950’s”.

This theater probably opened as the Gilger Theater and then the name might have been changed when it started screening movies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 24, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Google Books provides a snippet view of the 1939 Film Daily Yearbook, which shows two theaters listed for Norwalk, Ohio; the Forum, with 600 seats, and the Moose, with 800 seats. A 1935 Boxoffice item I cited in a comment on the Norwalk Theatre page said that the Forum had been built in 1934.

The Norwalk Reflector, the local newspaper, has available on its web site various items headed “Blast From the Past” which give capsule news reports from the paper’s archives. The earliest date of any of these that mention the Moose Theatre comes from March 27, 1926. The most recent item cited that mentions the Gilger Theatre is from February 19, 1916; earlier than the 1919 boxing matches Lost Memory cited in the first comment here.

The “Blast” feature is by no means exhaustive, but the multi-year gap between the last mention of the Gilger and the first mention of the Moose is another indication that the Moose might have been the Gilger, renamed sometime between 1919 and 1926.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm

The Rochester, New York, architectural firm Leon H. Lempert & Son placed an ad in the 1905 edition of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide. It listed a number of theaters the firm had designed, and the Gilger Opera House in Norwalk, Ohio, was among them.

coriolanus on December 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I was a child when the Gilger Theatre burned.The above Google map is incorrect when showing the position of the theatre. It was located one block west of its shown position on the map. The area where the theatre was located is now the Norwalk Public Library parking lot. On the day after the fire, my family watched as the orginal marquee was cut down.

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