Empress Theatre

105 Yoakum Avenue,
Chaffee, MO 63740

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One of three indoor theatres and two drive-ins that at one timed operated in Chaffee, Mo. All are closed today. The Empress opened in the 1930’s and was the last to close in the mid-1950’s. I was told that it was the larger of the three tehatres in the downtown. The other two were the Pullman and the Paramount.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 15, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Unless there was a second location for the Empress Theatre, it dates from before the 1930s. In a classified ad published in the January 16, 1926, issue of the trade publication The Reel Journal, one C.H. Horstman offered the Empress Theatre, Chaffee Missouri, for sale. No price was quoted, and no address given, but the house was described as seating 600, and its three story building as having a dance hall on the second floor and a lodge hall on the third.

If the 2008 photo depicts Mr. Horstman’s Empress Theatre, then it’s lost its upper floors at some time. I notice that the brick of the upper portion of the facade does appear to have some patchy areas that might indicate former second floor windows that have been filled in. It’s not unusual for the owners of buildings in older commercial districts to lop off the upper floors if the demand for the space vanishes.

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