Iowa Theatre

112 N. Thorington Street,
Algona, IA 50511

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Iowa Theatre

On July 4, 1935, Norman Rice opened the 300-seat Junior Theatre, two doors north of the Call Theatre. Kossuth County History Buff notes he had taken over the Call Theatre in 1916. By November 1936 it was advertised as Iowa Theatre (formerly Junior Theatre). Before the 1937 Call Theatre fire Mr. Rice, his wife and daughter lived in a third floor apartment above the Call Theatre with a window looking over the inside of the theatre.

On April 12, 1934, the Algona Upper Des Moines newspaper noted when Mr. Rice came to Algona he was a realtor and later manager of the Film Booking Agency. Through his connections, as a theatre owner he was able to obtain films at the same time as Minneapolis and other major cities, avoiding block booking.

Kossuth County History Buff reports that on August 1, 1951, Norman Rice sold his interests to Central States Theatres. During his years in Algona Mr. Rice’s theatres were the Call Theatre, State Theatre, and Iowa Theatre and he planned the Algona Theatre before his passing on September 4, 1952.

By January 31, 1952, the theatre was playing B pictures and serials, mostly Republic Studios and it was announced the Iowa Theatre would be operated only on Saturdays and Sundays. In April of 1952 an advertisement in the newspaper said the theatre would be closed during the Starlite Drive-In season and it appears the theatre never opened again.

From July 1954 to February 1955 and advertisements appeared offering the building for sale (good brick construction, will remodel to suit tenant). The building was sold in February 1955 and in March the marquee was dismantled. By 2015 the building was in use by an optician named Eyes on Thorington.

Contributed by Ron Pierce
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