Alhambra Theatre

117 E. Park Central East Street,
Springfield, MO 75806

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The Alhambra Theatre was a short-lived movie theatre in the 19th Century Post Office Arcade Building Turned Elks Arcade Building. Robert Cravens built the Arcade Building in 1885 and it housed a post office until 1895. In 1904, the Elks Lodge took on the facility creating an auditorium as well as Lodge #409. The facility became known as the Elks Arcade.

In 1916, B.J. Diemer and two of his associates decided after years of staging live theatre at his Diemer Theatre (and an Airdome that had ceased operations), to join the motion picture exhibitors who were faring better financially. The Alhambra Theatre opened in the Elks' Arcade Building on May 17, 1916 with the J. Stuart Blackton film, “Battle Cry of Peace”. Mural work and aisle light illumination helped the look of the theatre. The theatre also said it had the largest organ in the region.

Just five months later, the game-changing Electric Theatre was built opening in October of 1916 and the Alhambra Theatre was already looking dated and struggling with bookings as an independent theatre.

Diemer closed his live Diemer Theatre in 1917, and the Alhambra Theatre continued until January 16, 1918 closing with Cleo Madison in “Black Orchids”. An advertisement in the newspaper that day offered all of the theatre equipment for sale including all of its chairs, projectors, and piano. One hopes they waited to remove the theatre’s contents until after “Black Orchids” had completed its screening. (No word of the fate of the large organ purportedly at the theatre.)

On December 16, 1945, the Elks Arcade Building was completely destroyed by a fire that impacted 11 businesses. A modern bank building would take the place of the 60-year old facility.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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