Ashland Theatre

2400 Elmwood Avenue,
Kansas City, MO 64127

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KCB3Player
KCB3Player on August 4, 2014 at 6:09 pm

I remember as a young child going to both the Aladdin and the Ashland Theaters with my sister and parents. Yes, there were two side small curtained states with special lighting and I do remember the holiday displays for some reason. I know the history that it was first an open air live performance and movie theater. It did have a theater organ which had a lot of pipes on each side of the movie screen and also on the back wall of the very large stage area. Sadly, when it was demolished, most of the organ pipes were still there intact. It closed in the early 50s but then because a church for the next 15 plus years and was not changed that much on the inside auditorium but did have some water damage because it seems that no one would repair the roof during that period. At one time, The Minute Circle Community Center was very interested in the theater building after they lost their’s due to a fire. I wish that could have happened – they probably would have had it fixed up pretty nice.

SSteadman
SSteadman on April 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Many family stories have been told about the Ashland in our family. I am so glad that others remember the theater too. It was our family jewel in the early 1900s. Shawn Steadman.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 2, 2014 at 12:45 am

An item in the February 19, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World had information about the Ashland Theatre:

“Ashland to Seat 2,000.

“R. Stedman, manager of the Ashland theater, 24th and Elmwood, Kansas City, is remodeling his theater from a seating capacity of 1,000 to one that will hold 2,000 people. When this is completed, Mr. Stedman will have practically the largest capacity of any of the residence district theaters. The Apollo, when its new balcony is done, will also be among the largest, but the seating capacity will not quite equal that of the Ashland.”

spectrum
spectrum on September 26, 2007 at 9:38 pm

The American Film review annual for 1936 lists an Ashland theatre at 24th Street & Elmwood, seating 2,000. Wonder how that fits in with the two buildings listed above?

KathyFuller
KathyFuller on October 18, 2005 at 11:26 am

Hi, I have found a ledger for the original Ashland Theater, it opened in April 1911; I think it also operated an airdome during the summer. And it was destroyed by a dynamite explosion set off by a disgruntled projecitionist in 1922! Then apparently rebuilt, eh? The first manager was Rich Steadman, his wife Anna sold tickets, they ran films, an act or two of vaudeville, amateur shows, and cash prize giveaways. And made money hand over fist. I would love to communicate with folks who can help me find out more info about the Ashland, will share info; I am working on an article about transition-era nickelodeons. Kathy Fuller-Seeley

JimS
JimS on August 31, 2005 at 9:36 am

My research in KC on the Ashland showed that it started as an open-air theatre in the 20’s, progressed to roadshow vaudeville and then to a covered movie house. It was my neighborhood theatre as a child. I wish I could find a photo of the front, all I have is a photo of the rear stage building that was a storage area. The front had already been torn down. I saw wild animals on stage there once, part of a stage show. It had a main screen with smaller screen/stages on each side of the main. Usually these were curtained, but during the holidays, they held large holiday displays – stand-up figures of Santa Clause, etc.

Provided by Jim Spaw

JimRankin
JimRankin on April 29, 2004 at 6:32 am

Tour of Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas Theatres in 2004
From June 26 through July 1, 2004 the Theatre Historical Society of America will tour a number of theatres in Kansas City Missouri and surrounding areas, including theatres in Lamar, Joplin, Richmond, St. Joseph and Springfield, MO, as well as Miami, OK, and these cities in Kansas: Leavenworth, Kansas City, Emporia, El Dorado, Augusta, Wichita, Hutchinson, McPherson, Salina, Concordia, and Topeka. More information is contained on their web site: http://www.HistoricTheatres.org and special photos and information concerning the Kansas City theatres: UPTOWN and the MIDLAND is available on this temporary page of their site at: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~angell/thsa/fromarch.html A glossy brochure about this “Heart of America” Conclave is available from the Society’s headquarters listed on their homepage, via E-mail to the Ex. Director, or via snail mail. Membership in the Society is not required to attend the Conclave and tour the theatres, but fees do apply as detailed on their site. Bring your camera and lots of film, for it is usually difficult or impossible to enter these theatres for photos, and some of them will surely not be with us in the years to come.