Wasson Theatre

1515 S. Main Street,
Joplin, MO 64801

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Jeff_Griffith on September 27, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I found a Picture of the Wasson Vaudeville Theater http://digital.library.umsystem.edu/cgi/i/image/image-idx?sid=bde0f3e51f758d69f6b4048d1c136297;med=1;q1=jplzincic;rgn1=jplzincic_all;size=20;c=jplzincic;lasttype=boolean;view=entry;lastview=thumbnail;subview=detail;cc=jplzincic;entryid=x-zinc000001p0012;viewid=ZINC000001P0012;start=1;resnum=19

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 17, 2009 at 6:24 am

I think the compilers of the Boller list use “destroyed” to describe theaters that have been so completely altered that no trace of their original function remains. That’s might be what happened to the Wasson.

In fact from the bird’s eye view at Bing Maps it looks as though the entire back portion of the building could be of more recent construction. That totally flat roof was not characteristic of theaters built in the early 20th century. I also suspect that the front of the building used to be taller. Those three decorative arches are awkwardly placed too high on the current facade. I suspect that something above them— maybe a parapet wall, maybe an entire upper floor— got lopped off.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 16, 2009 at 12:32 am

The Wasson Theatre is included on this list of known Boller Brothers theaters with a construction date of 1906. That was four years after Carl Boller began practicing architecture, and one year after his younger brother Robert had joined the practice as a draftsman.

If the date of 1906 is correct, and if the Wasson Theatre occupied the main part of the good-sized building now at 1515 Main Street, it seems unlikely that it would have been only a movie house. However, the existing building lacks the stage tower one would expect in a legitimate or vaudeville house. If it was built in 1906, this was either a very large movie theater for its time, or the building has been enlarged at some time, or perhaps the building has been altered and an original stage tower removed.

I’ve been unable to find any references to the Wasson Theatre in trade publications, or any photos of it, or any mentions of it on the Internet other than on the list of Boller Brothers theaters and in a few comments here at Cinema Treasures. I get the feeling that details will be hard to come by.