Maple Theatre

420 Main Street,
Mapleton, IA 51034

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Princess Theatre, New Orpheum Theatre, Orpheum Theatre

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Located at an unknown address on Main Street, the Princess Theatre was opened as a live theatre in 1915. It screened D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” in October 1916.

The owner Ella M. Weekes moved the Princess Theatre to this location in 1929 from further west down Main Street, and installed talkie equipment. It opened with Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians in “Syncopation” on July 11, 1929. It was renamed New Orpheum Theatre on March 29, 1936 (the same day the towns' second Princess Theatre opened in a building which had been the Opera House, and would later become the American Legion Hall). The New Orpheum Theatre opened with Dick Powell in “Thanks a Million” and was listed with a 300-seat capacity. By 1941 it had been renamed Orpheum Theatre and the seating capacity was listed as 350.

In July 1942 it was renamed Maple Theatre was closed on January 5, 1950 with “Madam Bovary” starring Van Heflin & Jennifer Jones. The towns' ‘new’ larger Maple Theatre opened on January 10, 1950.

Contributed by Ken Roe, Mike Cassady

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 28, 2014 at 7:46 am

So 420 W. Main Street was the second of three locations for the Princess Theatre?

mcassady on July 10, 2014 at 2:04 am

Yes, this was the second of three known locations. In 1927 the Princess, owned by H.G. Day, was down the hill at the west end of Main St., exact street address unknown. By 1929, when the theater moved up the street to 420 Main, the Princess was owned by Mrs. Ella M. Weekes. After the 1929 move the former Princess building was used as an auto repair shop in 1931. It’s possible the Princess may have had an even earlier home circa 1915. The theater story in Mapleton is a little confusing because there were two theaters at this location from 1929-1936 and 1936-1950 with different owners and involving three marquee names. The first, the Princess Theatre opened at this location in July 1929 with new equipment for talking pictures. The first such feature shown here was Fred Waring’s “Syncopation”, as announced in the 7/11/1929 issue of the Mapleton Press along with an article on p.6*(see note below) describing how this innovative process worked. The New Orpheum moved into this location in 1936 after the Princess apparently was evicted for rent payment difficulties according to the March 19, 1936 issue of the Mapleton Press which proudly proclaimed “Mapleton To Have 2 Picture Theatres”. The Princess moved east into the next block of Main St. to reopen in the American Legion Hall. The New Orpheum was owned by A.B. Friedman, who owned theaters in Sioux City and Mickey Gross who seems to have been a partner. The Orpheum, purchased by E.W. Kugel in 1942 and renamed Maple, closed at this site in January 1950. A photo of how the old Maple looked three weeks before closing is found on the front page of the 12/15/1949 issue of the Mapleton Press. Back issues of the Mapleton Press may be viewed online with a search capability at

note: *page can be viewed by going to

See other entries on this Web page for Princess and Maple theatres.

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