Esquire Theatre

406 W. 3rd Street,
Davenport, IA 52801

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Columbia Theatre

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The Columbia Theatre was built in 1913 and was a vaudeville/live theatre, an early project from the architectural firm of Rapp & Rapp. It had a seating capacity of 1,800.

Eventually going over to movies, the 1941 & 1943 editions of Film Daily Yearbook list it as ‘Closed’. This was because it had been converted into a movie theatre known as the Esquire Theatre in 1939 with a reduced seating capacity of 834, all on a single level. The architects for the Art Deco style conversion were Wetherell & Harrison. Interior decorations were by Hanns Teichert. It was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary A.H. Blank.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 5, 2007 at 12:28 am

Lost Memory;Thanks for the additional information.
The 1941 edition of Film Daily Yearbook lists the Esquire Theatre with 834 seats (the Columbia Theatre is listed as ‘Closed’ with 1,800 seats). It seems like the re-model into a movie theatre gave a reduced seating capacity. However in the 1950 edition of Film Daily Yearbook the address of the Esquire is 408 W. 3rd Street and seating is given as 300 (which I would say must be a mis-print)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 21, 2009 at 8:27 pm

An article about the Esquire Theatre appeared in the December 9, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The article includes some information about the Columbia as well.

The Columbia opened on Christmas Day, 1913, with 1000 seats. The article says that the Esquire was built “within the walls” of the Columbia, as a single-floor theater. The Columbia had seated only about 600 in the orchestra and 400 in the balcony, so getting the Esquire’s 835 seats onto one floor necessitated the removal of most of the Columbia’s stage. The roof was lowered as well, but the auditorium still had a fairly high ceiling.

The new theater was thoroughly Moderne in style, with just a lingering hint of Art Deco in some of the details. The Esquire was designed by the Des Moines architectural firm Wetherell & Harrison.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 25, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Volume 2 of The Papers of Will Rogers, edited by Steven K. Gragert and M. Jane Johansson, says that the Columbia Theatre was originally a two-a-day vaudeville house on the Orpheum circuit.

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