Royal Theatre

118 E. Elm Street,
West Union, IA 52175

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Functions: Housing

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Royal Theatre

This theatre appears on the 1913 Sanborn, in the eastern storefront of an old brick and stone commercial block which dated to before 1885. A cigar factory was located above. This space was a clothing/books & stationery store on the 1902 map.

Later maps are unavailable online, but this has been closed for many years. The building is in fair condition, although the ground floor especially has been mutilated by a horrendous remodel using rotting scraps of plywood. It appears to be apartments.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 24, 2023 at 10:53 pm

If this was the only theater on the 1913 Sanborn of West Union it must have been the Royal, a house whose proprietor, G. W. Batemen, had just installed a new screen, projector, and seats, according to the December 13 issue of Moving Picture World.

SethG on August 25, 2023 at 4:58 am

I am pretty sure that it was. There is an opera house, and I’ve asked Ken for more information about that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 25, 2023 at 7:21 am

I found a modern photo of the Royal’s building at Flickr. The 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory lists only the Princess Theatre at West Union, but I have come across a February 12, 1916 Moving Picture World item datelined saying that an R. D. Fellows had purchased an interest in the Cozy Theatre. The Cozy could have been the Royal reopened. By 1926 the FDY is listing only the Princess.

SethG on August 25, 2023 at 9:05 am

Cozy almost certainly wasn’t the opera house. It was open until 1918, but must never have showed movies.

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