Horstman Theatre

105 Yoakum Avenue,
Chaffee, MO 63740

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Horstman Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

One of three indoor theatres and two drive-in’s that at one timed operated in Chaffee, MO. All are closed today. The Empress Theatre opened in 1927 and was the last to close in the mid-1950’s. I was told that it was the larger of the three theatres in the downtown.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

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.

Chris1982
Chris1982 on August 8, 2014 at 1:03 am

The Empress Theatre is listed as open in 1927. By 1933 the theatre at this address was called the Paramount Theatre. then by 1939 the theatre was called the Horstman Theatre. I could find no listing for the Empress after 1933 at this address, the Horstman operated into the late-1950’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 10, 2016 at 3:16 am

I’m wondering if we have conflated two different theaters on this page. A 1955 photo of the Horstman Theatre appears on this web page and shows a building that is still standing, though missing its top floor, and it is next door to the address 105 W. Yoakum Avenue, which is occupied by a cafe called Sandy’s Toddle Inn. The Horstman Theatre’s address must have been 107 W. Yoakum.

The caption of the photo says that this house was called the Chaffee Pullman Theatre when it was bought by Charles Horstman in 1921. He renamed it the Horstman Theatre in 1931. These dates are also noted in the 2009 obituary of Bernice Montgomery, Charles Horstman’s daughter. The caption also says the Horstman Theatre operated into the early 1960s.

The description of the Empress Theatre I found and cited in my previous comment described a three-story building, and the Pullman/Horstman was in a two story building. We also got the address 105 Yoakum somewhere, although that isn’t the current address of the building the Horstman was in. I’m thinking it’s possible that the Empress/Paramount and Pullman/Horstman might have been two different theaters that were next door to each other, at 105 and 107 Yoakum.

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