Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas

720 S.W. Jackson Street,
Topeka, KS 66601

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Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas

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In August 1926, the Jayhawk Theatre opened as a movie and vaudeville palace. Plans had been drawn by Topeka architect Thomas W. Williamson, with the Boller Brothers of Kansas designing the theatre. Seating was provided for 1,550, with 650 in the balcony. But after fifty years of showing films, the Jayhawk Theatre closed in May 1976 and appeared to be gone for good. The Hotel Jayhawk, part of the entire complex, also closed shortly after the theater and was converted into the Jayhawk Tower office complex in 1982.

The Jayhawk Theatre was closed off from the office building and sat dormant for over a decade. In 1992, amid movements to demolish the theater and the entire building, preservationists sought a solution to block the planned destruction.

After forming a strong coalition in the private sector to save the Jayhawk Theatre, the Kansas State Legislature designated the Jayhawk as the official State Theatre of Kansas in 1993. Since that time, the theatre has been undergoing renovations in preparations for its rebirth as a performing arts venue for Topeka.

The Jayhawk Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

Keith Wondra
Keith Wondra on April 21, 2007 at 9:02 am

I just took a tour and found out that they are in the process of going out to local businesses to get money.

Here is a photo of the interior in 2007: View link

Here is a photo of the neon sign that is on top of the Jayhawk Hotel in 2006: View link

Keith Wondra
Keith Wondra on April 21, 2007 at 9:12 am

Here are the original flickr links.
sign: View link

interior: View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 21, 2010 at 3:00 am

There is an article about the Jayhawk in the September 4, 1926, issue of The Reel Journal.

spectrum on November 13, 2010 at 10:55 am

The website has been stripped of all content except for the basic template. I wonder what’s happening…

0123456789 on January 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Everything is expired in every link!

Keith Wondra
Keith Wondra on April 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm

New link: http://jayhawktheatre.com/

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on August 23, 2013 at 8:38 am

I recently photographed the Jayhawk Theatre – check out some photos on After the Final Curtain

OKCdoorman on October 1, 2015 at 11:05 am

Announced for several months, but didn’t see it on CT yet—2nd annual THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW screening here this month, benefiting additional restoration work: http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/Rocky-Horror-Picture-Show-event-at-Jayhawk-Theater-330125471.html; official re-opening was supposed to be this year but don’t see indications confirming it.

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