Capitol Arts Theatre
416 E. Main Street,
416 E. Main Street,Bowling Green, KY 42101
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The Capitol was not built until sometime after 1914. The two older buildings are still on that map, and the eastern one contains a movie theater. I don’t think the Capitol was constructed until 1921, and I don’t think it was ever the Columbia. I also don’t think the Columbia was the name of the theater appearing on the 1914 map, since that was in a pre-1886 storefront, not any newly constructed building.
The Columbia Theatre appears to have been a new build in 1911, not an old vaudeville theater or opera house, as some sources claim. The February 14, 1911 issue of The Nickelodeon announced the plans for the house “…to be located in the new Rabold Building….” by the Columbia Theater Company, already operators of 14 theaters in various regions.
I’ve been unable to discover if Tony Sudekum’s Crescent Amusement Company took over the project from Columbia before or after the house opened, but Crescent was definitely in control of the Columbia by 1913. The Rabold family owned quite a bit of property in Bowling Green, including the building in which Crescent opened the Princess Theatre in 1914.
The information about the Columbia theater is wrong. There was never an ‘opera house’ on this block. No movie theaters appear until the 1914 map, when there are two. There were two two-story brick commercial buildings on this lot, both built before 1886.
Opened March 21st, 1921. Grand opening ad posted.
The Capitol theatre opened on March 21st, 1921. Rebuilt and reopened on March 23rd, 1939. Grand opening ads posted.
Capitol theatre reopening Thu, Mar 23, 1939 – 13 · The Park City Daily News (Bowling Green, Kentucky) · Newspapers.com
Hemmings Motor News article with a photo of the Capitol during the Corvette Homecoming.
Listings ended in 1971 as a cinema. 1971 page at https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=pa0cAAAAIBAJ&sjid=gEYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7098%2C3732537
This place is classic. When I first moved to Bowling Green from Chicago in 1992, I spent my first New year with my ex-wife here, as the town was doing “First Night” I got to see Jeff Foxworthy, and talk to him after. If I can get some pics of the inside, I’ll post them.
Great looking marquee on this one.
Well, someone explain to me How THE CAPITOL closed in 1967 when on Jan 1 1969 it was playing “THE IMPOSSIBLE YEARS” you guys got a date wrong.Check the local paper MOVIE ADS like I do.
I looked for the circa-1890 Columbia Theatre in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. But the only theater listed under Bowling Green KY was Potter’s Opera House, no street address given, managed by J.M. Robertson and having 950 seats.
Here is a 1947 photo:
Here is another view of the marquee:
To: local Historian at the local museum.
I’m interested in the history of local cinema here in Bowling Green. In searching for the local paper article concerning the opening of the Martin Theatre in Bowling Green Mall, I came across a bank advertisement concerning the location of the Crescent Theatre as being on Park Row. I was talking to an 84 year old youngster who spent his life here in the area. He remembers The Princess, Capitol, and Diamond (later the State) but nothing else on the square. He called an equally young lady (92) and she remembered only those other three as well. The 1967 ad stated that the building that was the Crescent was currently occupied by the Consolated Loan Company. The gentleman gave me your name as a contact as he and his son had taken a ‘History of Bowling Green’ class taught by you a while ago. Do you know if the Cresent Theatre was on Park Row, or if not, where it might have been?
Bowling Green’s early theatres —Diamond, Capitol (originally called the Columbia), & Princess— belonged to the Crescent Amusement Co that had its offices at 416 E. Main from about 1911-1960. All but the Diamond were on Main St. I checked the city directories 1911-1967 and found no theatres on Park Row and no theatre listed as the Crescent Theatre—which makes me wonder if the Capital/ Columbia, was sometimes referred to as the Crescent because of its ownership.
I would love to see some interior photos of this theatre.
Lost Memory: The night photo of the lighted marquee in your 11/1/06 photo really shows off the theatre’s beautiful marquee and all of the neat colors.
I caught a glimpse of this theatre marquee while watching a show on HGTV and had to go and check it out here on CT.
I attended Western Kentucky University during the period when the theatre was being renovated. Through some friends of friends I got a tour of the building right before it reopened in 1981. As the building is – and seems to have always been – quite plain inside, one oddity in the auditorium stands out in my mind.
High on the side wall, house left, is something that looks for all the world like a metal rain gutter. It runs almost the entire length of the auditorium. Nobody knew for sure what it was for: a cove light trough? a chase for ropes to pull the main curtain from the projection booth? a piece of deocoration? a make-do fix for a leaky roof?
Since no one could say for sure what it was, and in an effort to maintain any and all decorative details that still existed, it was painted a lovely old-gold and left right where it was.
It’s been 25 years since I’ve been in the theatre: wonder if it’s still there.