Playhouse Theater

831 42nd Street,
Des Moines, IA 50312

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The Roosevelt Theatre was operating since at least the mid-1930’s. It had closed by 1953, and was taken over by the Des Moines Community Playhouse. The entrance and building are all in flat stone. It was also where I had my first job.

Contributed by Swede Blue

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 18, 2009 at 4:04 am

1015 42nd Street is the wrong address for this theater. On Google Maps, this address shows up in the middle of a residential district with houses that must have been built in the 1920s at the latest.

The current occupant of the Roosevelt Theatre is the playhouse Lost Memory linked to above, at 831 42nd Street. That was the address given for the Roosevelt Theatre in a Boxoffice Magazine item of January 6, 1951, at the time the building was sold to the little theatre group that eventually moved into it. However, Google Maps fetches up a couple of hundred feet south of the building when you use that address.

The Roosevelt Shopping Center in the 1935 photo has been replaced by a modern strip mall. The theater’s entrance arch seen in the photo is also gone, but there is still matching stone on the facade of the theater itself, which is set back from the street behind a small parking area.

The June 21, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the Roosevelt Theatre would be taken over by the Community Drama Association in July, and would reopen as their playhouse after some remodeling. The last operator of the Roosevelt as a movie house was Tri-States Theatres.

Google Street View (click “full screen” icon upper right of view to embiggen.)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on September 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Status should be changed to open with function of live theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Plus the address still needs to be corrected to 831 42nd St., and the official web site Lost Memory linked to in the first comment is still active, so that can be added as well.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 14, 2011 at 10:10 am

Views of the facade and the refreshment stand of the Roosevelt Theatre can be seen on this page of Boxoffice, August 5, 1950.

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