Sugg Theatre

110 S. 4th Street,
Chickasha, OK 73018

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Texas2step on December 1, 2016 at 6:38 pm

This one opened on August 11, 1913.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 24, 2016 at 12:09 pm

This item is from the July 6, 1935, issue of Motion Picture Herald:

“Consolidated Opens New Oklahoma House

“Consolidated Theatres, Inc., subsidiary of the Griffith Amusement Company, recently opened the new Washita theatre, at Chickasha, Okla., containing the most modern equipment throughout, including air conditioning apparatus. George Limerick is manager of the house, which was constructed virtually within the old walls of the Sugg theatre, one of the oldest theatres in southwestern Oklahoma.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 24, 2016 at 8:22 am

I now believe that the correct address of the Sugg Theatre was approximately the 110 S. Fourth Street that eferrell01 suggested.

eferrell01 on April 6, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Here is the location as it appears today. Mr. raybradley, the building across the street now known as Chickasha Mall was originally S.H. Kress store.

eferrell01 on April 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Joe Vogel,the “McDonald’s” that occupies the site of the Sugg is not a retail outlet, but was the corporate office of Harold Jackson the owner of the McDonald’s franchise in Chickasha. The name was changed to Washita in 1935 and was destroyed by fire Dec 27, 1939 and was never rebuilt. The actual address would be about 110 South 4th. The gray building on the right side of the picture is the Petroleum Building which is on the SW corner of 4th and Chickasha Ave.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 2, 2014 at 5:21 am

The McDonald’s that occupies one side of the Sugg Theatre’s site is at 2027 S. 4th Street, so the Sugg’s address was probably 2027 or 2029.

The January 2, 1940, issue of The Film Daily ran this brief item about the destruction of the theater:

“Chichasha Theater Burns

“Chickasha, Okla. — This city’s largest theater, the Washita, owned by Consolidated Theaters, Inc., Griffith subsidiary, was destroyed by a $50,000 fire.”

eferrell01 on April 2, 2014 at 3:07 am

There is no 390 Chickasha Ave, don’t matter what Google Earth says. The Sugg was in the 100 block of South 4th right behind the Petroleum Building. I am ot sure of the year of the name change to Washita Theater, but it did burn down in 1939. The new Washita Theater was bilt in the 500 block of Chickasha Ave and is still there. The Wagner Opera House was and the building still is on the NE corner of 4th and Chickasha.

Bellarn58 on May 7, 2013 at 8:23 am

Check out 390 Chickasha Ave in Chickasha on Google maps Street view.

Bellarn58 on May 7, 2013 at 8:19 am

This picture is actually of the building on the NW corner of 4th Street and Chickasha Ave. I believe the address is 390 West Chickasha Avenue. I was told it was the Wagner Opera House and then a dance hall during WWII. You can match the top of the drawing and the top of the building. During the 60s and 70s the downstairs was OTASCO and the upstairs was storage. Someone did start renovating it several years ago and put all new windows upstairs but I was told they ran out of money and left it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 13, 2011 at 12:03 am

When J.D. Sugg died in 1925, the Waurika News-Democrat published an article noting some of the bequests made in his will. Among them was a bequest “…to MRS. BELL MCCOWN of Fort Worth, a niece and her children, the Sugg Theatre building in Chickasha and $5,000 each….”

There was also a reference to another theater in Chickasha that Mr. Sugg owned: “The Kozy Theatre building in Chickasha goes to J. D. LINDSAY of that city for life, reverting to the estate on his death.”

Either the Kozy is not yet listed at Cinema Treasures, or is listed under another name and is missing the aka. The Kozy was mentioned in the July 29, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World, so it was at least that old.

I think it’s possible that the building currently on the site of the Sugg Theatre incorporates the lower portions of the theater’s side and back walls. Brick is pretty good at surviving fires. But as the theater had both a balcony and a gallery, and the current building is a single floor structure, the upper parts of the walls at least have clearly been demolished. The front is obviously post-fire construction, as it is mostly glass show windows.

marciaterry2002 on September 12, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I found a photo of the same building on face book by creative stidios here in chickasha. The small building behind the petroleum building that is shown on this page is the knox car sales.

marciaterry2002 on September 12, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I studied much of the history of chickasha while conducting research for my senior seminar class at USAO. I believe the suggs theater was built by a man named suggs who also built the what is now called the petroleum building. It was original a bank before it housed the offices for the petroleum building. That is more then likely the building you are seeing in front of the suggs theater. The theater burned down and was relocated to the site of the washita theater. I beliee the building that has the mc donalsd sign was rebuilt after the theater burned. The oper a house was located catycorner from the petroleum building and has recently been renovated. This is what I have understood the history of the theater to have been

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm

I noticed that windowless building across 4th Street. It does look like it could have been a theater, though it might also have been a large bank. They were often windowless, too.

While trying to dig up more information about the Sugg, I came across references to a Wagner (or Wagoner) Opera House in Chickasha. It was listed in early 20th century editions of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide, and it’s apparently still standing at 328 W. Chickasha Avenue. The first entry on this page of The Steel Guitar Forum says that a Barry Thomas was renovating the Wagner for use as a guitar shop. The entry is dated 2003.

I can’t find anything else about Barry Thomas, and there’s no guitar shop at this location listed on the Internet, so maybe his plans didn’t work out. I don’t know if the Wagner/Wagoner ever operated as a movie house, but it’s quite possible that it did. It’s possible that it operated under a different name, and was the location of one of the several theaters listed for Chickasha without addresses.

raybradley on March 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm

… plus, across the street, I strongly suspect that the Chickasha Mall was once a large theatre. It has a windowless sidewall, theatre back exits, and what looks like a stage door and dressing room windows. That sheet metal false front prevents positive identification.
View link

raybradley on March 25, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Yes, Joe, I see exactly what you’re writing about. The building with the McDonald arch in the window does match the postcard footprint. This also explains why it took over a year for the new Washita to open. Thanks for the info!
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Thanks, Ray, and thanks to Google Books for making all those old magazines available. I actually found the Sugg Theatre photo while looking for something else.

But after comparing the various photos, and the bird’s eye view at Bing Maps, and the Google Street View, I’m sure the Sugg/first Washita and the second Washita were at different locations. The first of the pre-fire photos at Oklahoma History, and the 1913 postcard I linked to above, show a tall building next door to the Sugg, and there’s no trace of it in this circa 1950 photo of the second Washita, even though the buildings next door to it and down the block look quite old. The Sugg was free-standing, too, while the second Washita butted against other buildings on both sides.

The only five story building in Chickasha today that could be the one in the old photos of the Sugg is the one at the southwest corner of Chickasha and 4th. The lot just south of it on 4th has a one-story building that occupies a footprint that matches up with the old photos of the Sugg Theatre (see the bird’s eye view at Bing Maps.) In Google Street View, it’s clear that the building at the corner of Chickasha and 4th is the same one you can see a corner of in the 1913 postcard I linked to. The detailing around the street floor windows is identical. The Sugg/first Washita had to have been on that lot just south of it, on South 4th Street.

In Google Street View, the building on the Sugg’s site is only one story, but is faced with the same type of brick as the Sugg. Street View shows a bit of the northern side wall, and it looks like it drops down from the street, as a theater building would. Bing’s birds eye shows part of the back wall, and there appears to be a theater-type exit door on it. I think there’s a good chance that this building could be the remains of the Sugg Theatre, chopped down to one floor.

raybradley on March 25, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Joe, you sure do post some great stuff!
The Sugg Theatre was later renamed Washita. It burned down on 12-27-1939 (Strange how so many competitor theatres with Griffith Theatres burned).
The current (1941) Washita Theatre now occupies this site.
On this link type in “chickasha washita theatre” to look at historic interior and exterior photographs,
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 25, 2011 at 11:43 am

The name currently given for this house might be wrong. There is a photograph of a Sugg Theatre in Chickasha, published in The Moving Picture World, issue of December 6, 1913. The recently opened house seated 923, and included two balconies, the upper one a segregated section for black patrons. It was named for one of its original owners, a cattle rancher.

I found two other mentions of the Sugg Theatre on the Internet, including this postcard, postmarked 1913.

This 2003 memoriam for Lois Ruth Badgley says that her first job was playing piano to accompany silent movies at the Sugg Theatre. As she was born in 1913, the time period must have been the 1920s (unless young Lois was uncommonly precocious.)

The name Soggs Theatre is on the Internet only here and at Roadside Oklahoma, which I have not found to be the most reliable source of information. CinemaTour doesn’t have the house listed under either name. I’ve not found the theater mentioned under either name in the Boxoffice archive.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on February 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Open~1930-~1935? Can anyone verify the exact dates?


1930 Publix Theater Corp.

1935 Griffith Amusement Co.

Need an address and can always use more info and photos.