New Baxter Theater

1117 Military Avenue,
Baxter Springs, KS 66713

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New Baxter Theater

The New Baxter Theater dates back to at least 1930. The building was used as a home furnishing store until 2010.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 23, 2009 at 9:21 pm

The Building at 1145 Military Avenue was converted into the Blue Castle restaurant in 1957. An item in Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of October 16, 1961, says “Marion Nichols is reopening the New Baxter Theatre in Baxter Springs, Kas., on a weekend policy. Fred Harpist is doing the booking and buying for the house.” As in 1961 the Blue Castle was firmly established in the building at 1145 Military Avenue, that could not have been the address of the New Baxter Theatre. It had to have been the address of the Ritz.

The building at the corner of 12th street would not have been large enough for the seating capacity of the New Baxter. Numerous items in Boxoffice from the 1940s and 1950s made it clear that the New Baxter was Commonwealth’s “A” house in town, and the Ritz their smaller “B” house.

There is a building at 1117 Military Avenue currently occupied by the local branch of Westco Home Furnishings. In Google satellite view it looks like it might have had a small stage area, though without a fly loft. It’s large enough to have housed a theater of 786 seats, too. I wonder if that might have been the location of the New Baxter, and FDY not only conflated it with the Ritz, but also misprinted the address of what it thought was the Ritz but was actually the New Baxter as 117 Military Avenue?

easystreet on September 21, 2010 at 7:21 am

The furniture store is now closed. There is some local interest in renovating the theater.

kelleypi on July 12, 2018 at 11:37 am

My mother worked at the Ritz as a teenager, but it was closed in the 1940s or at least by the early 50s, because I never saw it open. I was born in 1947 and as a small child spent a lot of time downtown. I started attending movies at the New Baxter Theater when I was about 5 years old. On Saturday, we would have a afternoon matinee with two full length movies, previews, a cartoon, and a serial feature. Thus, you spent the entire afternoon there. The Ritz was restored and recently reopened thanks to Ron Puckett and his wife. The New Baxter Theater, after being a furniture store for years is part of a project to turn most of the block into a classic car museum, set to open in October 2018.

DavidZornig on December 22, 2018 at 9:47 am

1930s image added courtesy of Route 66 Postcards Facebook page. Baxter & Ritz Theaters on the rigt.

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