Vista Theatre

2617 Independence Avenue,
Kansas City, MO 64124

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Vista Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The El Rey Theatre opened in 1925 and was located on Independence Avenue at Prospect Boulevard, which was in the North Terrace neighborhood. It was just a block from the entrance to the park. It was renamed Vista Theatre around 1932. The theatre served this neighborhood until closing in 1963. It went into retail use.

The building was destroyed by fire on May 12, 2011

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

RobbKCity
RobbKCity on February 1, 2007 at 6:32 am

This theater building remains, and is used by a retail store.

RobbKCity
RobbKCity on June 12, 2007 at 11:40 am

Here are some May 2007 photos of the former Vista Theater building. The building now houses the Hamar Fresh Market and El Vaquero Imports stores.

RobbKCity
RobbKCity on June 12, 2007 at 11:44 am

The source of the photos are Eric Bowers of http://www.valdorephoto.com . Please do not duplicate or sell. Photos can be purchased at Web site.

RobbKCity
RobbKCity on May 12, 2011 at 8:38 pm

The Vista Theater was destroyed by fire on May 12, 2011. Several businesses occupied the the 79-year-old building, and it appears to be a total loss. Firefighters have yet to discover the cause of the fire.

http://www.kmbc.com/news/27871002/detail.html

RobbKCity
RobbKCity on May 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm

An addition news link about the fire at the Vista Theater.

View link

RobbKCity
RobbKCity on August 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm

The Vista Theater building has been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

This theater might have been a bit older, and a bit larger, than we thought, perhaps opening in 1925 as the El Ray (or El Rey) and seating over 1000. There was certainly the intention to build a theater on this site in 1925. Here is part of an item from the March 7, 1925, issue of The Reel Journal:

“Kansas City apparently has fallen into her stride in keeping pace with other cities in the country in theatre expansion with the announcement this week of a plan for building a 1,500 seat theatre at 2611-19 Independence Boulevard by Dr, M. A. Dickey, who recently bought the 100-foot ground frontage. The new house would be the largest theatre in that district.

“The owner plans to add shops and apartment suites to the building which is to be an imposing structure interpreting Spanish architecture. There will be five ground floor store rooms and a lobby on the boulevard frontage.

“Construction will begin as soon as Victor J. De Foe, architect, has completed drawings.

“James Watson, owner of the Benton Theatre, Northeast’s leading theatre, has purchased this new property. Mr. Watson has named the new theatre the El Ray.”

The photo of the Vista does show it to have about the 100-foot frontage of the proposed house in the article, and the style of the facade was certainly Spanish Colonial Revival. A city directory or newspaper article or ads from the period 1925-1932 could reveal if there was an El Ray or El Rey Theatre at this location.

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on August 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm

The Theater did not close in 1958 – it remained open until sometime in 1963 and was just operating on the weekends like the National Theater also on Independence Ave about 4 miles East. As an 8th grader at St. Stephen’s School, I remember going there in 1963 for a special showing of The Ten Commandaments. I think the manager’s name of Frank Morrisey who would later move to the Paramount Theater downtown as the Asst. Manager.

The interior was almost identical to the Aladdin Theater and had a lot of beautiful paintings done by Dante Consentino, who also did a lot of the art work in many of the Catholic Churches.

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on November 21, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Wish someone could post a pic of the Vista when it was operating as a theater.

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