Amus-U Theater

108 W. Main Street,
LaHarpe, IL 61450

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The Princess Theatre was opened in 1929. It was renamed Amus-U Theater in 1934, but was damaged by a fire in 1935 and was rebuilt. Amus-U Theater was owned by Ralph and Eva Todd, a mother-son partnership, in 1938. It was converted into a bowling alley in 1958 and the building was still there in 1998, but had been demolished by 2005.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 21, 2009 at 6:56 pm

From Boxoffice in June 1958:

LaHARPE, ILL.-Howard Magin has converted the Amus-U Theatre here into a bowling alley.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 18, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Konrad Schiecke’s Historic Movie Theatres in Illinois says that the theater in LaHarpe opened as the Princess in 1929 and was renamed the Amuse-U in 1934. The following year it had to be rebuilt following a fire.

SethG
SethG on November 15, 2017 at 8:55 pm

Map marker is completely wrong. I’m not sure the building in the photo was the theater. The NRHP listing (which does have some typos/mistakes) lists the building at 108 W Main as a theater, then bowling alley. It was built 1888, vacant in 1987, and it’s been torn down. The building in the photo is 122 W Main, which is listed (incorrectly as 102) as being built in 1919 as a garage. The only copy of the listing I found is missing the photos, but I am pretty sure I’ve got this all straight. Looking at the building in the photo from the alley, the two story portion is only the very front. The rear is low and has a lot of windows. Not very theater-like. I’d say the photo is not the theater, and the listing should be changed to demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 15, 2017 at 11:17 pm

SethG is probably correct about the theater being at 108 W. Main. Views at Historic Aerials show the building at 108 W. Main being somewhat deeper than most of its neighbors, while still not extending all the way back the the alley, yet certainly big enough to have held a 350-seat theater. It was still standing in 1998, but gone by 2005.

This web page is about Elsie Magin who, with her husband Howard, was the last owner of the Amus-U Theatre, having bought it from Ralph Todd in 1952. It says that after converting the theater into a bowling alley in 1958, the Magins had to adopt an early closing time due to complaints from residents of the apartments upstairs about the noise.

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