Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas
720 S.W. Jackson Street,
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Jayhawk Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Mann Theatres, MN
Firms: Boller Brothers
Functions: Movies (Film Festivals)
Previous Names: Jayhawk Theatre
In August 1926, the Jayhawk Theatre opened as a movie and vaudeville palace. Plans had been drawn by Topeka architect Thomas W. Williamson, with the Boller Brothers of Kansas designing the theatre. Seating was provided for 1,550, with 650 in the balcony. But after fifty years of showing films, the Jayhawk Theatre closed in May 1976 and appeared to be gone for good. The Hotel Jayhawk, part of the entire complex, also closed shortly after the theatre and was converted into the Jayhawk Tower office complex in 1982.
The Jayhawk Theatre was closed off from the office building and sat dormant for over a decade. In 1992, amid movements to demolish the theatre and the entire building, preservationists sought a solution to block the planned destruction.
After forming a strong coalition in the private sector to save the Jayhawk Theatre, the Kansas State Legislature designated the Jayhawk as the official State Theatre of Kansas in 1993. Since that time, the theatre has been undergoing renovations in preparations for its rebirth as a performing arts venue for Topeka.
The Jayhawk Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
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