10 West Main Street,
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The Ritz Theatre, built around 1899, and originally constructed as a dry goods store, was the oldest and longest running family owned/operated movie theater in the state of Oklahoma when it closed in 1988.
When purchased by Jake Jones, Sr. in 1913, the theater was renamed the Cozy. Around WWI, the building was remodeled to its present 40' width and shortly thereafter became a stop on the state vaudeville circuit.
In 1926, the theatre was renamed the Ritz Theatre, and Shawnee’s first talking motion pictures were shown.
The Ritz Theatre is an Federal Revival style, two story building. The first floor and auditorium are in good condition and reflect lighting fixtures designed and made by Johnny Jones, son of Jake Jones, Sr.
The second story was originally used as a boarding house/hotel during the railroad and oil boom days. Architectural details are still intact but it desperately needs restoring.
In 2000, the Jones family gave the theater to the Soceity for Revitalization of Downtown Shawnee, Inc. This historic landmark holds the designation of "Save America’s Treasures".
Since 2000, SRDS held four to six performances annually and raised $60,000 towards renovations and restoration. It now operates ful time as a live theatre, and renovations continue when funding allows.
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