328 Walnut Street,
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Dakota Theatre (Official)
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Yankton Opera House, Hess Theatre
The Yankton Opera House opened in 1902. In 1921, it was remodeled for use as a movie house, complete with a $10,000 pipe organ, chandeliers and new seats. It was named the Hess Theatre after it new owners.
In 1929, the Hess Theatre showed its first sound motion picture, the same year the theatre received another name change, as the Dakota Theatre. It was also around this time that D.W. Rogers remodeled the theatre in spectacular Art Deco style, its facade covered in cream and brown-colored tiles, with chrome highlights. The auditorium received modernistic designs on its side walls and over the proscenium arch.
Architect Henry A. Raapke remodeled the theatre in 1946. Later, a new triangular marquee was added, with the theatre’s name in large red letters. In the mid-1960’s, the theatre’s new owners again remodeled the Dakota Theatre, including a new concession stand and updated lobby.
The Dakota Theatre closed in 1987, and three years later, was purchased by the Dakota Theatre, Inc., a non-for-profit organization. The Dakota Theatre was beautifully restored to its former appearance, a wonderful example of Art Deco architecture, and is today used for live theatre and other live performances.
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