Elite Theatre

204 N. Douglas Avenue,
Ellsworth, KS 67439

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The Elite Theatre opened September 4, 1909 in downtown Ellsworth. The operators built it for motion pictures with a color palette of dark red and cream, along with elevated rows for contemporary, unimpeded viewing. They considered their theatre as the “coziest in the Union Pacific”. The theatre appears to have closed after showings on May 5, 1921 with the Golden Belt Theatre emerging as the town’s favorite motion picture venue.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

dallasmovietheaters on October 18, 2018 at 11:02 am

Correction: opening date was October 4, 1909 (my error; sorry)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 18, 2018 at 12:24 pm

An NRHP form for the Ellsworth Downtown Historic District lists the Elite Theatre/Larkin Building at 123 N. Douglas Avenue. It gives this history of the building:

“The Elite Theater, a motion picture house, opened in this building, also known as the Larkin Building, on October 1, 1909 under the management of Karl Bomshein (Ellsworth Reporter. 1 October 1909). By 1920, the building was in use as a grocery (Sanborn). According to the Sanborn maps, this building was built between 1905 and 1911 -indicating that the Elite Theater was the first occupant at the time of the building’s construction. Before then, the lot was occupied by a small one-story cobbler’s shop. The name ‘Larkin Building’ implies an association with town founder and early hotelier Arthur Larkin (see #52- 201-203 N. Douglas and 203-213 E. N. Main following #83). Larkin continued to invest in the town until his death November 4, 1911. In 1960, the building was a bus depot. It is now occupied by the CR Old West Trading Post.”

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