10 W. Main Street,
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Downtown Shawnee, Visit Shawnee
Firms: A.C. Davis & Sons
Functions: Performing Arts
Previous Names: Cozy Theatre
Built around 1899, and originally constructed as a dry goods store, this was the oldest and longest running family owned/operated movie theater in the state of Oklahoma when it closed in 1988.
When purchased by Jake Jones, Sr. in 1911, the Cozy Theatre was opened on March 19, 1911. Around World War I, the building was remodeled to its present 40' width and shortly thereafter became a stop on the state vaudeville circuit.
In 1926, the theatre was renamed the Ritz Theatre, and Shawnee’s first talking motion pictures were shown.
The Ritz Theatre is an Federal Revival style, two story building. The first floor and auditorium are in good condition and reflect lighting fixtures designed and made by Johnny Jones, son of Jake Jones, Sr.
The second story was originally used as a boarding house/hotel during the railroad and oil boom days. Architectural details are still intact but it desperately needs restoring.
In 2000, the Jones family gave the theater to the Soceity for Revitalization of Downtown Shawnee, Inc. This historic landmark holds the designation of "Save America’s Treasures".
Since 2000, SRDS held four to six performances annually and raised $60,000 towards renovations and restoration. It now operates ful time as a live theatre, and renovations continue when funding allows.
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Recent comments (view all 27 comments)
From 2010 photo views of the Ritz Here and Here in Shawnee.
Here is a link on YouTube. This is just short video from one of our monthly shows. We try to bring one event to the Ritz each month and are looking for more things to do. We have just about got the old popcorn machine fixed and we’re pretty darn excited about that!
Take a look at what the Ritz Theatre neighborhood looks like today,
Looks like the signboards are missing from the marquee.Cosmic Ray.
We’re sprucing up this lobby with a little paint and such. Should look real nice.
From 2010 a photo of the Ritz Theatre in Shawnee.
The March 25, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World reported that the Cozy Theatre in Shawnee was to be remodeled and enlarged:
A.C. Davis was my great grandfather, and he did not move to Shawnee until 1901, so he couldn’t have been the architect of the original building.
Multiple images added.
Official website and Facebook page for The Ritz of Shawnee.