Avalon Theatre

131 N. Vine Street,
West Union, IA 52175

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The Princess Theatre was opened in the 1920’s. It was renamed Avalon Theatre in 1939. It was a smaller theatre with the aisle running down the middle of the auditorium. The screen took up the whole wall and the projection booth was really cramped.

The Avalon Theatre was purchased in 1974 by Peterson Theatres of Waverly, Iowa. It operated until the early-1980’s. Peterson Theatres did not own the building and when the owner put the building up for sale the Town House Cafe next door bought the property and would not renew the lease. They used the building to expand the resturant. The marquee is still in place.

Contributed by lon peterson

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

kencmcintyre on November 16, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Here is an article from the Oelwein Daily Register dated 3/2/70:

WEST UNION â€" “How many, please?” “How much is the popcorn?” “Where’s the bathroom?” It has been a long time since those questions were posed in West Union, 3 ½ years to be exact, but they are being asked here, now. The Avalon Theater has re-opened.

At Sunday’s grand opening, a good crowd composed largely of young people, attended the premier showing of Elvis Presley’s new movie “Change of Habit”. For West Union citizens accustomed to watching television at home each night or journeying out of town to see a movie, the Avalon Theater offers another choice.

A combined investment by the city and theater manager Duane Vorwald of $40,000 was needed to re-open the Avalon. The money was well-spent. Located on Vine Street, only the outside remains to be remodeled. Inside everything is new. Chandeliers hang overhead in the lobby. The walls are paneled. Carpeting on the floor and a concession stand of glittering metal and polished glass give the 250-seat movie house a touch of elegance. Sunday, there were flowers everywhere.

The Avalon will have movies every night of the week except Wednesdays. If the movie is good enough, it will run Wednesdays too. It all depends on the moviegoers.

For Vorwald, the theater business is a second job. He’s also a salesman. Thus, operating theaters in Elkader and West Union requires the assistance of his family. Wife Meralda sells tickets, keeps the books and cleans up. Daughter Nancy works behind the concession stands. Son Kevin will become the full-time manager of the Avalon.

It’s a good looking place. The scats are comfortable, the schedule of upcoming movies impressive, and the popcorn is good, too. Call the Avalon Theater a nice place to visit and if you do, the West
Union Chamber of Commerce will call their city a nice place to live. Quite a combination for northeast Iowa.

Chris1982 on December 10, 2014 at 9:42 pm

This theatre was originally known as the Princess Theatre dating back at least into the mid-1920’s. It was renamed the Avalon in 1939.

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