Capitol Theatre

231 E. Main Street,
Ottumwa, IA 52501

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Yaj
Yaj on March 23, 2014 at 7:52 pm

I grew up in Ottumwa when the Capital was running. My brothers and I went to Saturday morning kids movies there. I was so amazed at how beautiful it was inside. You purchased your ticket out front from the booth then entered the doors to a oval shaped room to wait for the movie to open. It had 3 big glass movie poster light boxes with coming movies in them. Once we were allowed in the confession stand was right there. Then you either went left or right to the doors. There were 4 enterances on this floor. If you wanted the balcony you went up these big stairs on either side that split at the top. Depending on which stairs you took you would turn left to the balcony stairs or right to stairs that lead up to a large open room with couches. The bathrooms were there, also a coat heck room and I think a bar. The bathrooms were really something, they had 2 rooms. The first had mirrors with little stools so the ladies could fix their hair and make-up. The other were the sinks and toilets. If I remember right the carpet and curtains were red and black throughout the theater. It was quite grand. The little theater came along later and was just one level with a tiny concession stand. I was married Nd returned to Ottumwa with my children when they were in elementary school. I wanted them to see the Capital. I was shocked at how they chopped it apart into all those theaters and combined it with the theater next door. It was dirty and smelled terrible. So very sad to see that happen. I’ll never forget seeing those lights at night on the theater. My father worked next door at the Gas Company and I would go see him when he worked at night. We would walk out for dinner and see the lights as we went to the little pizza parlor across from the Capri. I don’t know the name …but there was a tiny theater next to the gas company which later became a taxi cab company. I know it was there because the dispatcher at the place took me back one night to see the old theater. The screen was still there but the seats were gone and it had a bad roof so there were bats.

MiltonSmith
MiltonSmith on March 17, 2012 at 12:26 am

Until I can throw them up here, here is my flickr page with photos of the Capri V/Ottumwa/Capitol. http://www.flickr.com/photos/60993177@N00/sets/72157606188500182/

MiltonSmith
MiltonSmith on March 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Once I find where I put my photos I will put some up here. I took some pics back in July 2008 of the front of the theater after they stripped off the sheet metal facade. I suspect even 4 years later it looks the same.

MiltonSmith
MiltonSmith on March 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm

However, the Capitol became part of the Capri.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 12, 2011 at 6:37 am

The Capitol was in operation by the late 1920s, but no firm date for its opening has been established. The building was just a hotel with what looked like retail space on the ground floor in the 1915 photo, but the conversion of the ground floor to a theater had taken place by the time the ca.1927 photo was taken. It might have been converted any time during that period.

For me it’s a tossup whether or not the Capitol should have the aka Capri V. It did operate as part of the Capri V, but then the Capri V’s entrance was at the Capri Theatre’s address, not the Capitol’s address. In any case, one of the main functions of including the aka’s on theater pages is to facilitate searches of the site. Anybody who has found the Capri V page with a site search will read there that it incorporated the former Capitol, and the Capitol’s page is easy enough to find from that page. I can’t see that it would be either helpful or harmful to have Capri V as an aka on this page.

DonLewis
DonLewis on January 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm

No doubt the two theater buildings merged. This doesn’t mean the Capitol was ever known or operated as the Capri.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on January 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Are you sure, Don? The comments on this page and on that for the Capri V certainly imply or say directly that theaters were merged, and even the picture you posted of the Capitol looks like it was merged into the theater next door by virtue of the continuous red brick lower facade.

DonLewis
DonLewis on January 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm

The Capitol was never known or operated as the Capri.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on January 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm

AKA:

CAPRI V

Open ~1927-~1985? Can anyone verify the exact dates?

In 1927 showed Vitaphone Pictures

Owners:

1945 A.H. Blank Theaters (Controlled by Paramount Publix)

1955-1985 Central States Theater Corp. in the Paramount Building, Des Moines, Ia., Myron N. Blank, President, they had 70 theaters in Iowa and Nebraska.

Was on the corner and started out as a hotel. The Grand Ballroom was made into a theater with a balcony. In the early 80’s it was combined with the Capri Theater (former Ottumwa Theater) to become the Capri V. After the theaters closed they were sold to somebody who was going to restore the theaters but instead stripped out all the copper and other valuables, then disappeared! The building still has old hotel rooms in it.

More info and photos are always welcome.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 11, 2011 at 7:47 am

The Arcadia Publishing Company’s book Ottumwa has successive photos from 1915 and ca.1927 showing the Capitol Theatre’s building before and after it had became a theater. The Capitol and Capri were in separate but adjacent buildings, and operated as separate theaters for several decades before being combined under the Capri name.

DonLewis
DonLewis on January 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm

From 2010 a photo of the Capitol Theater building in Ottumwa.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on January 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm

This theater appears to be already listed; see the comments under the Capri V: /theaters/17477/
Apparently there were originally two theaters in the building that were later combined in the creation of a five-plex.