600 Main Street,
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Opened in the backroom of the Freedman Hotel saloon, Samuel ‘Roxy’ Rothafel’s first movie theater was originally opened in November 1908 for roller skating. He closed the venue a month later and reopened it as the Family Theatre for “roller skating and vaudeville” on Christmas Eve, 1908.
Roxy left the Family Theatre in 1910 and went to work for Benjamin F. Keith before moving on to the Alhambra Theatre in Milwaukee, the Lyric Theatre in Minneapolis, the Regent Theatre in New York City and many of the most important movie palaces in the Broadway area between 1914 and 1934.
The Family Theatre was renovated in 1915 and closed several years later. In 1925, a new Freedman Theatre, operated by Roxy’s in-laws, the Freedmans, opened down the block.
In 1933, when Roxy’s wife Rosa was visiting her family back in Forest City, a fire broke out at the Freedman Hotel and destroyed what remained of the original Family Theatre.
Today, a Zazzera’s Super Market sits in its place.
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