414 1st Street,
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Rex Theatre - Glenwood (Official)
Functions: Movies, Movies (Family)
Styles: Romanesque Revival
Previous Names: Royal Theatre
The Rex Theatre is on the north side of the old town square in Glenwood IA. The building was built in 1891 and operated as the Rex Opera House until 1908 when it became the Rex Theatre, operating with 430 seats.
During the 1970’s thru to the 1990’s it went through several ownership changes but reamained open and was briefly re-named Royal Theatre. For the last decade it has been in McGinnis family ownership and the family lives in the loft apartment upstairs while they engage themselves in the renovation/restoration of the theatre. It remains open from May thru November of the year and restoration efforts take place during the winter months when it is closed.
It is Richardsonian/Romanesque in design. It is a very early silent era movie theatre that has been exhibiting film since 1908 or 1909. Archival area newspapers show it starting to show film on a regular weekly basis by 1910. During the first few decades of showing film it also continued to have plays, recitals and community events mixed in with the showing of films, but went to just film exhibition by mid-20th century. The Rex Theatre is considered to be one of the longest running exibitors of film at the same location in the world.
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It was called the Royal Theatre during the 1990’s . It had been bought by a theater circut that did not have a sensitivity to the historic name . After the McGinnis familiy purchased it they changed the name back to The Rex Theatre .