Chief Theatre

524 Oregon Street,
Hiawatha, KS 66434

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm

The cornice and window trim of the building to the left of the modern building in Street View is recognizable in the 1939 photo of the Chief, so the theater has been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm

After the Griffith and Dickinson theater chains merged in 1939, the consolidated firm embarked on a project to renovate its theaters. All the plans were designed by the Dallas architectural firm Corgan & Moore. It was at this time that the Royal Theatre in Hiawatha was renamed the Chief Theatre.

A photo of the Chief, sporting its new marquee, is the second in the column on the right side of this page of Boxoffice, August 19, 1939.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 17, 2011 at 8:55 am

The list of known Boller Brothers theaters includes the Chief (with the aka Royal) in Hiawatha, as a 1929 remodeling project, and says it was operated by Dickinson Theatres. It also says the theater has been demolished.

I suspect that the Chief was on the lot next door east from the old brick building on the northeast corner of Oregon and 6th Street. The single-storey, modern building now on that lot looks to have been built in the 1970s or so. It’s also possible that the Chief’s auditorium was added behind the older brick building to the east, but that seems less likely to me.

I’ve been unable to find any vintage photos of this block of Oregon Street. I did find a single reference to a theater called the Victoria that was showing movies in Hiawatha in 1918. Possibly an earlier aka of the Royal/Chief?