Fox Kelley Theatre

205 S. Washington Avenue,
Iola, KS 66749

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KELLEY Theatre; Iola, Kansas.

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The 500-seat Kelley Theatre opened on March 15, 1923 with Cecil B. DeMille’s “Nice People". The Iola Daily Register noted in 1938 that E. VanHyning leased the Kelley Theatre from 1923 to 1933 at which time he terminated the lease and built the Uptown Theatre.

In 1936 Fox Midwest Theatres, Inc. purchased the Kelley Theatre and the Uptown Theatre. In April of 1936 a notice appeared in the Register that Fox was closing the Kelley Theatre so they could concentrate on the Iola Theatre and Uptown Theatre. However it was said Fox might operate the theatre on weekends if first run movies could be obtained.

It appears that the Kelley Theatre operated at least part time until around March of 1938 when its advertisements dropped out of the Register. Beginning in May of 1946 a classified ad appeared saying that the theatre was for lease and could be remodeled to suit the tenant. Later tenants included a Firestone store, Hays Furniture and finally Clark’s School of Cosmetology.

The Register reported in January of 1972 that the Kelley Hotel was being razed to make room for a bank parking lot. It is assumed that the wing of the hotel, which housed the former theatre, was demolished after that.

Contributed by Ron Pierce
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