Grand Theater

615 SW Jackson Street,
Topeka, KS 66603

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Additional Info

Architects: Carl Boller, Robert O. Boller

Firms: Boller Brothers

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Grand Opera House

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News About This Theater

Exterior of The Grand Theater 1

The Grand Theater in Topeka was located on SW Jackson Street at SW Sixth Avenue. It started out in 1882 as the Grand Opera House, being thought of as a state of the art venue with fifty exits.

In 1925 with the completion of the Jayhawk Theater (awaiting restoration), the Grand Theater would be converted to a cinema to the plans of the Boller Brothers architectural firm. It was never really hailed as the most elaborate, but was able to hold the most capacity in the city.

Around the 1960’s or 1970’s the Grand Theater was temporary closed, then reopened in 1980 as a cinema. A different movie was shown at every time slot, plus it housed Friday night midnight sessions of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. The Grand Theater would re-close in 1983, and unfortunately a year later would suffer a roof collapse, and was razed by 1984.

In its place now is a parking lot for the Topeka Independent Living building.

Contributed by Michael Parsons

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

kencmcintyre on February 9, 2006 at 1:03 pm

Here is the landmark information:

Grand Opera House (added 1986 – Building – #80001474)
Also known as Grand Theater
Shawnee County – 615 Jackson St., Topeka
(10 acres, 1 building)
Historic Significance: Event
Area of Significance: Entertainment/Recreation
Period of Significance: 1900-1924
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Theater
Current Function: Recreation And Culture, Vacant/Not In Use

kencmcintyre on February 9, 2006 at 1:14 pm

Here is an 1892 print of the Opera House (which is for sale, to be fair):

MikeParsons on February 13, 2006 at 11:59 am

Here is a photo of the outside and marquee of the Grand, taken from Seeing as it is advertising and decorated for the showing of King Kong, Im assuming this pic is from 1933 or so.

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kencmcintyre on March 1, 2007 at 5:32 pm

There was a fire in the late sixties that probably led to the temporary closure. At that time the theater was owned by Fox Midwest.

claydoh77 on April 7, 2008 at 7:58 am

Just ran into a few sets of antique seats pulled from this theatre for sale on ebay. If you are in the Topeka area for pickup the price is very reasonable:

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The end-cap seat standards seem unusual to me, not the heavy high-relief molded iron that are often seen; it seems like maybe a native american inspired art deco design?

gage2112 on August 30, 2011 at 11:15 am

Only sensoround in the area for Tora, Tora, Tora and Earthquake.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 4, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Multiple sources, including the Boxoffice article Tinseltoes linked to, indicate that the plans for the 1925 rebuilding of the Grand Theatre were prepared by Boller Brothers. Not only was a new facade put on the building, but the interior was gutted and rebuilt, allowing an increase in seating capacity despite the removal of the original gallery.

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