Des Moines Theatre

517 Grand Avenue,
Des Moines, IA 50309

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Des Moines Exterior of Theatre

Located on Grand Avenue at 5th Avenue in downtown Des Moines. The Des Moines Theatre was opened July 10, 1919 with “For Better or Worse”. It was equipped with a 2 manual Kimball theatre organ. In November 1943 the World Premiere of “Happy Land” starring Don Ameche was held here, and the August 29, 1945 World Premiere of “State Fair” starring Jeanne Crain was held at the Des Moines Theatre. It was closed January 27, 1966 with Jane Wyman in “All That Heaven Allows. A few events were held in the theatre until it was demolished in May 1969 and a parking garage was been built on the site.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Calmuse on October 8, 2007 at 9:50 pm

A few more details: built in 1918 by A.H. Blank at a cost of $750,000 (in 1918 dollars); style: Egyptian Revival interior. Torn down in the mid 1960s.

rodmo71 on July 9, 2009 at 6:02 pm

The Polk County Convention Complex now stands where the Des Moines Theatre was.

dallasmovietheaters on December 26, 2017 at 5:29 am

The Des Moines Theatre launched July 10, 1919 with “For Better or Worse.” The theatre was lauded for its Spanish Renaissance design. One of its biggest days was the World Premiere of “State Fair” that brought out both the stars of the 1945 film and the theatre’s biggest crowd.

The final operator of the Des Moines Theatre, Tri-States Theatre, was limited to three first run Des Moines houses. When it opened the Plaza Theatre January 28, 1966, it abandoned the Des Moines Theatre on January 27, 1966 – its final day of operation with “All That Heaven Allows.” A few events occurred thereafter. Housed in the Iowa Building, the Des Moines Theatre was razed by Bankers Trust for a financial institution in May of 1969.

DavidZornig on August 24, 2019 at 7:56 pm

1953 photo added via Sheryl Polson‎.

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