Esquire Theatre

406 W. 3rd Street,
Davenport, IA 52801

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 26, 2013 at 1:11 am

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.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on September 3, 2012 at 10:10 am

Modernization of Columbia into Equire described in this 1939 trade article, as cited above by Joe Vogel: Boxoffice

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 21, 2009 at 11:27 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.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 29, 2007 at 8:21 pm

A Kimball theater organ was installed in the Columbia Theater in 1926.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 5, 2007 at 9:04 am

Maybe the seat reduction from 1800 to 834 isn’t too unusual for some theaters. The State Historical Society of Iowa claims that the Capitol Theater opened in 1920 with 2500 seats and today it has a little less then 1600 seats. Almost the same reduction in seats as this theater.

KenRoe
KenRoe on May 5, 2007 at 3:28 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)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 4, 2007 at 4:19 pm

This website claims the following:

Columbia Theater
406 W Third St Davenport IA
Demolished: 1967
Also Known As: Esquire
Originally a vaudeville house, the Columbia was extensively remodeled into a movie house in 1940.
The building was demolished in 1967 to make way for a parking lot for the Kahl Building across the street, which houses the Capitol Theatre.