The Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas

View of the auditorium from the balcony.
View of the auditorium from the balcony.

The Jayhawk Theatre opened in August of 1926 in Topeka, Kansas.  It was built by local architect Thomas W. Williamson, and designed by the Boller Brothers. The Boller Bros. were known for designing hundreds of theaters across the country, using the Jayhawk design as a prototype. In addition to the theater, the building contained a hotel and a commercial arcade that connected the two sections.

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Eastown Theatre

View of the auditorium from the balcony.
View of the auditorium from the balcony.

The Eastown Theatre opened on October 1, 1931 in Detroit, Michigan. It was built by the architectural firm of V.J. Waiver and Company for the Wisper and Westman Theatre chain. Designed in a Baroque architectural style, the 2,500 seat theater was built for motion pictures and did not have live performances until much later. Most movie palace openings were a grand event, and the Eastown was no exception. Newspaper ads proclaimed the opening to be, “the most glorious event in the history of east Detroit.” The opening film was Clark Gable’s first starring role “Sporting Blood.”

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The Ramova Theatre

The Ramova Theatre auditorium.

The Ramova Theatre opened on August 21, 1929 in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. The 1,500 seat theater was designed by architect Meyer O. Nathan in the Spanish Revival style. An atmospheric theater, the ceiling was painted blue to resemble the night sky. A contest was held to name the theater while it was being built, and the winner named it after the Lithuanian word for “peaceful place.”

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Poll Results

Avalon New Regal Balcony
View of the auditorium from the balcony.

I’m happy to announce that the Avalon/New Regal Theatre has won the poll (by an overwhelming majority) and will be the next post on After the Final Curtain. Keep an eye out for it next week!

The Fall of the American Movie Palace

View of the Loew’s Palace Theatre from the balcony.

Hi everyone – I want to let you all know about an upcoming event.

On August 18, I’ll be giving a lecture on “The Fall of the American Movie Palace” as part of the Atlas Obscura Speakers series of talks at the Observatory in Brooklyn.

Here’s some information about it from the Observatory’s website:

There’s nothing remarkable about a movie theater today, but there used to be. When the great American Movie Palaces opened, they were some of the most lavish, stunning buildings anyone had ever seen. With the birth of the multiplex, theater companies found it harder and harder to keep these buildings open. Some were demolished, some were converted, and some remain to this day. “The Fall of the American Movie Palace” will take you through the history of these magnificent buildings, from their opening in the early 1900s to years after the final curtain.

Check out Atlas Obscura for more information, and to purchase tickets.

Tickets can also be purchased at

Road Trip Day 1

The lobby of the Ramova Theatre.

I’m currently on a road trip to photograph some more abandoned theaters. Day 1 was spent revisiting the Ramova Theatre in Chicago.

The Ramova Theatre opened on August 21, 1929, and closed in the mid 1980s.

Victory Theatre

Balcony Level, Victory Theatre
The two Vincent Maragliotti murals on either side of the stage have been removed for restoration.

The Victory Theatre opened on December 31, 1920 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The 1,680 seat theater was built by Mowll & Rand, an architecture firm based out of Boston.  The firm was also known for the design of the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts. The Victory was commissioned by the brothers Samuel and Nathan Goldstein of Western Massachusetts Theatres Incorporated.

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