Varsity Theatre

1207 25th Street,
Des Moines, IA 50311

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Varsity Theatre, Des Moines, IA

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The New Varsity Theatre is a neighborhood theatre which has been in operation since Christmas of 1938. It was a conversion of an existing two-story building and replaced an older Varsity Theatre which was located around the corner on University Avenuue.

It currently shows independent films and is located close to Drake University.

Contributed by Bruce Nelson

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

swedeblue
swedeblue on July 7, 2008 at 4:42 pm

In a Sunday May 5th, 1935 Des Moines Resister ad, the VARSITY theater was running “DAVID COPPERFIELD” No ticket price listed

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 30, 2008 at 6:56 am

swede; That advert would be for the ‘old’ Varsity Theatre, which was located around the corner on University Avenue. The owners of the ‘old’ Varsity Theatre, Elias Garbett and his son E.M. Garbett built the New Varsity Theatre.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 16, 2009 at 3:28 am

Interesting. The older photo in their website’s history link looks like the “mystery” Varsity, that was posted on another CT Varsity page.

The mystery photo on that page had college students perched on a Varsity marquee to view a parade or something in tyhe 40's or50’s.
Unfortunately I can’t recall what city or CT page the “rogue” Varsity was thought to be in.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 16, 2009 at 4:53 am

It was in Minnesota somewhere. It was a photo from Life magazine that was probably miscaptioned.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 16, 2009 at 5:26 am

Thanks. I didn’t realize it was you that originally posted the “mystery” Varsity photo. The photo is actually on both the Peoria IL & Milwaukee WI Varsity CT pages.

But the mystery is still unsolved though, sort of.
The consensus seems to be that it is the Milwaukee WI Varsity, now part of Marquette University.
Though there are no other or current pictures with which to compare it.

The other Life Magazine photo was of Racine WI. So it could have been Gen. MacArthur’s parades in WI that all pics were originally culled from.
You are correct that it was miscaptioned as being from Chicago IL.,
where there was never a Varsity.
It was not Evanston IL’s Varsity either.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 16, 2009 at 5:34 am

Forgive me for the following.
But would never finding out, be known as the… Varsity Drag?

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 16, 2009 at 5:42 am

Thanks, you are correct. The only thing it remotely has in common is glass blocks. And plenty more in the mystery pic.

LonPeterson
LonPeterson on March 29, 2009 at 6:39 am

Bev Mahon owner of the Varsity passed away friday March 27th 2009. He had owned The Varsity since 1954. He also owned theatres in Pella Iowa,Sioux City Iowa and Omaha Nebraska until settling into The Varsity. A true showman that will be missed by all

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