408 N.W. 2nd Street,
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This theater opened in 1879, as the Bonebrake Opera House, decades before the motion picture existed. But in 1930, new owners purchased the theater and converted the 600-seat auditorium to exclusive motion picture use.
The theater is also known as the location of the first news conference given by then presidental candidate Dwight Eisenhower (who grew up in Abilene). And during its life, the Plaza also hosted several movie premieres.
In 1995, the Strowig family, one of the few independent theater operaters in the Kansas area, completed an extensive renovation of the theater, which included restoring the theater’s lobby to its 1930’s appearance.
But in 2000, the gods of preservation played a cruel trick on the Plaza… the roof and a portion of the theater’s wall suffered a partial collapse after a series of violent thunderstorms. The damage was so severe that the theater could not be restored and was eventually demolished.
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