What Is the History of Movie Theaters in Topeka?


Quick Answer

The Topeka Grand Opera House, which was later renamed the Grand Theater, became the site of the first motion picture presentation in Topeka, Kansas, in 1897. Other historic theaters in the city include the Jayhawk Theater and the Dickinson Theater.

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What Is the History of Movie Theaters in Topeka?
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Full Answer

The Topeka Grand Opera House was built in 1882. The theater featured a square facade with three large arched windows at its center. It was the largest theater in Topeka and became a dedicated cinema in 1925. In 1933, it boasted the feature film "King Kong." The theater was finally demolished in 1984 due to structural problems.

The Jayhawk Theater opened its doors in 1926 in the Jackson Street area in Topeka. The Jayhawk featured a large balcony, a grand lobby and an ornate lounge area. It was a popular movie theater for 50 years until it finally closed in 1976. Through the efforts of preservationists, the theater was saved from demolition and now holds the title of the official state theater of Kansas. As of August 2015, the Jayhawk is undergoing restoration.

The Dickinson Theater, which opened in 1908, was a smaller theater that originally hosted Vaudeville acts and comedy shows. Like the Jayhawk, the Dickinson Theater had a balcony. It was a popular cinema until the 1980s, when competition from modern cinemas forced it out of business. In the early 1990s, the Dickinson was razed to make room for a parking facility.

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