Princess Theatre

506 Main Street,
Mapleton, IA 51054

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Opera House

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The Opera House was built around 1881. It was screening films by 1900, but also had other uses. By 1926 the Opera House was operating as a full time movie theatre, but had closed by 1929. In 1932 the building was purchased by the American Legion and they refurbished the building in March 1932 to become the American Legion Hall.

It reopened as the Princess Theatre on March 29, 1936 (the same day that the former Princess Theatre reopened as the Orpheum Theatre). The Princess Theatre reopened with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in “Rose Marie”. However it was a short lived venture as the Princess Theatre was closed on February 20, 1937 with “Gold Diggers of 1937” starring Dick Powell & Joan Blondell. It reverted back to being the American Legion Hall. It was demolished in summer of 1961.

Contributed by Ken Roe, Mike Cassady

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm

S. G. Harsh, operator of the 249-seat Princess Theatre in Mapleton, Iowa, wrote numerous brief movie reviews that were published in Exhibitors Herald in the last quarter of 1823. He also had two reviews in the May 30, 1925, issue of The Moving Picture World. I’m not sure that it was the same theater that operated in the American Legion Hall, though. Theater owners sometimes moved from one building to another, taking the name with them.

Mapleton had an opera house to which I’ve found references from 1909 and 1929. There is also an item datelined Mapleton, IA., in The Moving Picture World of January 2, 1915, which says: “John Robinson is planning to make extensive alterations to his one-story moving picture theater to cost about $2,000.” It seems likely that these were two different theater buildings. Either (or both, or neither) might have become the Princess, Orpheum, and/or Maple.

mcassady on July 8, 2014 at 9:28 am

To view the site of the former opera house/American Legion Hall and final venue of the Princess Theatre use the + feature on the Google scene to enlarge the right side of Main St. Up the street this space is occupied by the second building from the end with vertical white trim that continues horizontally at the top partially obscured by a tree. When the Princess closed the owner of the Orpheum down the street kindly “bought” the patronage and good will of the former, but not the equipment. The owner of the late Princess, O.P. Brown, not out of the theater business, traded his cinema gear for newer equipment which he intended to use in a theater in California.

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