Fine Arts Theatre
315 S. Main Street,
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The Fine Arts Theatre in Monmouth was built in 1851 as a Presbyterian church turned Unity Church in 1882. But when the 1867-built Schultz Opera House went down in flames on February 11, 1892, agriculture manufacture J. Howard Pattee bought the Unity Church for the replacement opera house.
Employing Burlington architect Charles A. Dunham, the building was expanded to have a stage and dressing rooms at its rear and 800-seat capacity. The opera house gravitated from high art to vaudeville and wrestling. But it also introduced motion pictures to Monmouth in the early-1900’s. Motion pictures turned out to be the most popular pastime in the city as a variety of theaters blossomed including the Lyric Theatre, the Bijou Theatre and the Alamo Theatre.
The Pattee Opera House would also convert to playing movies predominately with local events and some vaudeville mixed in. By 1924, new owners had changed the venue’s name briefly to Theater Monmouth as motion pictures dominated the playbill. In 1925, the theatre changed hands one last time becoming the Fine Arts Theatre on January 11, 1925. On April 10, 1928, fire destroyed the Fine Arts Theatre which had not converted to sound. It was not replaced.
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