214 N. Hastings Avenue ,
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The Nickel Theatre was Hastings, Nebraska’s first dedicated movie theatre launching with 30 minutes of short subjects on June 3, 1907. The Hastings Avenue venue proved to be a hit, with a change of pictures every Monday and Thursday.
Fred Hayter opened the Nickel Theatre and on May 3, 1908 changed its name to the Edison Theatre as Hayter had two Edison’s running in Holdrege and Minden. This meant two things: 1) The films would come “direct from the factory” ensuring fresher films and 2) the price was going to double from a nickel to a dime.
In 1912, the Edison Theatre got a 15' stage with 18' proscenium to allow for more vaudeville and live content. Relaunching as the New Edison Theatre with Powers 6 and Motiograph projection complemented by a $90 screen that demonstrated the “first classlessness” of the place. Safety was a key factor with new fire exits allowing exiting to 3rd Street as well as Hastings Avenue. Opening shows on March 25, 1912 were “You Remember Ellen”, “Hypnotized” and the Pathé Western, “Cholera on the Plains”.
In March of 1915, Whirry & Albright took on the Edison Theatre giving it an entirely new front and steel reinforced interior designed by R.A. Bradley & Co. That relaunch took place on May 21, 1915 with the theatre’s name becoming the Plaza Theatre. It launched with the tagline, “Hastings Peerless Picture Palace”.
In 1920, the Plaza Theatre Circuit in Waterloo, Iowa, likely took over the operation. The Plaza Thetare went out of business about a year later in March of 1921. It was last used to assemble some State Fair exhibits in 1921.
In 1922, the theatre was re-imagined as three retail stores which were the Hastings Army Salvage (Surplus) Store, Lovell and Clarke’s Hastings Bakery and - appropriately enough - and L.E. Porter’s Edison Phonograph shop. The building was later razed in favor of a city services building.
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