Webster Theater

610 2nd Street,
Webster City, IA 50595

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Webster Theater (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: BigTime Cinema, Fridley Theatres, Pioneer Theater Corp.

Architects: J.R. White

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Orpheum Theater, Granada Theater

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 515.832.6684

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News About This Theater

Webster Theater

The original Orpheum Theater opened on November 29, 1909. It operated as a vaudeville theater until 1916 when the Orpheum Theater moved to this new building right next door named the E. H. Martin Building, and began showing silent movies. In the 1920’s the ‘new’ Orpheum Theater was remodeled and renamed the Granada Theater. The main floor seated 600 and the balcony held 150 patrons.

In the 1930’s the Granada Theater was renamed the Webster Theater. By 1950 it was operated by Pioneer Theater Corp. Around 1988 Bob Fridley of Fridley Theatres purchased the Webster Theater. The Webster Theater was operated by Fridley Theatres until the mid-2000’s, when it was taken over by the BigTime Cinema chain.

It re-opened as a non-profit community theatre on September 19, 2014. The Art Deco style marquee has been fully restored. Equipped with digital projection and sound, movies are screened on the largest (non-Omnimax) screen in Iowa. In the Art Deco style lobby, uniformed staff greet patrons, ticket prices are family friendly.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

kencmcintyre on September 5, 2007 at 5:25 pm

This was one of many Pioneer Theaters in Iowa in the early sixties. Pioneer was based in St. Louis Park, MN. The president was Harold Field. Other Iowa theaters in the chain at that time were the Atlantic and Corral in Atlantic, the Carroll and Caroll Drive-In in Carroll, the Arrow, American and Corral in Cherokee, the Clarinda and Clarinda Drive-In in Clarinda, the Center in Grundy Center, the Iowa in Jefferson, the Corral and Perry in Perry, the Sac Theater in Sac City, the Corral and Spencer in Spencer, the Corral and Vista in Storm Lake and the Corral and Webster in Webster.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 5, 2009 at 1:17 am

A tiny glimpse of the Webster Theater can be seen in this photo. It looks like the original Orpheum Theatre building is still standing next door. They could put a second screen for the Webster in there and have a hundred-year-old theater, sort of. But then, even having a 93-year-old theater is pretty impressive these days.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 12, 2018 at 5:46 pm

In early 1909, E. H. Martin’s son bought the Unique Theatre. A few months later the July 3 issue of The Improvement Bulletin reported that E.H.Martin had begun construction on a new building for the Unique Theatre. As there is no evidence that the Unique ever moved from its original location, I suspect that this project became the first Orpheum instead.

The project was designed by J. R. White, Webster City’s best known architect of the period, who had designed the Martin Telephone Company building in 1904. As Martin had hired White to design at least two projects prior to building the second Orpheum, it seems likely that he would have hired White for that job as well, though I haven’t found documentation that he did. Although the second Orpheum is more ornate than the first, the two buildings have certain elements in common, most notably the oblong, horizontal clerestory windows near the top of each facade.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell on September 16, 2018 at 10:50 am

The September 16, 2018 issue of the Los Angeles Times ran an article on Webster along with changing demographics of the area. Read entire article here.

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