New Varsity Theatre

145 N. 13th Street,
Lincoln, NE 68508

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Oliver Theater...LincolnNebraska

Located at 13th Street & P Street. The Lancing Theatre was opened in 1891. It was renamed Oliver Opera House in 1889. It was renamed Liberty Theatre in 1924.

A new Varsity Theatre was built and opened in 1934 on the site of the old Rialto Theatre at 1500 O Street. This was closed in 1941, and the name ‘Varsity’ was transfered to the former Lancing/Oliver/Liberty Theatre, which became the New Varsity Theatre.

The New Varsity Theatre was demolished in around 1972, and a bank was built on the site.

Contributed by Billy Holcomb / Don Lewis / Billy Smith, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm

The New Varsity Theatre was opened as the Lansing Theatre on November 23, 1891, and was renamed the Oliver Theatre in 1898. Here is a note on the Lansing Theatre from this web page of the Willa Cather Archive:

“The Lansing Theater, on the southwest corner of 13th and P Streets, was built in 1891, displacing the Funke Opera House as the largest and finest theater in Lincoln. The owners were J.F. Lansing (b. 1842), a Lincoln real estate man, and his brother-in-law Henry Oliver (b. 1857); Edward A. Church was the manager. According to the program of the opening week (November 23-28, 1891) the auditorium consisted of the orchestra and parquet seating on the main level, with dress circle at the rear and sides; three tiers of five boxes each and six loges were at the sides. Above were the balcony and the gallery. With standing room, about 2500 people could be present.

“The building also housed offices, including that of Cather’s friend and fellow reviewer, Dr. Julius H. Tyndale. It was renamed the Oliver Theater in 1898.”

The page also has a photo of the house as the Oliver Theatre from about 1910.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 11, 2015 at 11:04 pm

There are a couple of typos in the theater description. Lansing is misspelled as Lancing (also in the Previous Names field.)

The Lansing was renamed Olver Opera House in 1898, not 1889.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 11, 2015 at 11:34 pm

The November 28, 1898, issue of The Courier, one of Lincoln’s daily papers, said that the Lansing Theatre had been designed by E. C. Horn of New York, and built by the construction firm of Smith & Horn. The building was predominantly Romanesque Revival in style, but the interior featured some elements of Louis XV decoration.

rivest266 on July 29, 2015 at 12:18 pm

November 1st, 1934 ad for the old varsity theatre in photo section

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