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 20 comments)

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
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
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
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.

DSmith59
DSmith59 on February 19, 2017 at 8:25 pm

I remember my friend Jeff’s dad ran the projector at the State Theater in 1969. He use to get us into the theater for free. I must have watched Her Majesty’s Secret Service 30 times. I’m so glad they are restoring it. I’ll have to take a trip to visit from Nevada, when it’s completed. Dawn

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 24, 2017 at 7:46 am

The Jayhawk is one of the 24 theaters in my new book, “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater,” which is available on Amazon or your local bookstore

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