Iowa Theater

416 Main Street,
Keokuk, IA 52632

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Frisina Amusement Company

Previous Names: Mark Angell's Hippodrome Theater, Hippodrome Theater, Regent Theater

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Photo of the Iowa Theater After it Burned Down in The Early 70's

The Hippodrome Theater was opened on August 29, 1912. It was remodeled in 1922 and renamed Regent Theater. The seating capacity at that time was increased to 1,300. Later renamed Iowa Theater, it was destroyed by a fire May 12, 1975.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

kencmcintyre on May 24, 2006 at 6:56 pm

Some of the oral histories on state that the Iowa theater burned to the ground. I didn’t post the link here as you have to sift through a great deal of nostalgia to find the references to the Iowa.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 27, 2013 at 10:38 pm

This house was still called the Hippodrome as late as 1922, when the June issue of Stone & Webster Journal said that the Baker-Dodge Theatre Company was remodeling its Hippodrome Theatre in Keokuk at a cost of $20,000. It might have been at the time of this remodeling that the house was renamed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 19, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Here is news of the Hippodrome from the July 22, 1922, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Keokuk Hippodrome Is Being Remodeled

“The Baker-Dodge Theatre, Inc., operating the Hippodrome and Grand Theatres, of Keokuk, are now remodeling the former house.

“The Hippodrome building covers an area of fifty by one hundred and forty feet and practically the entire interior of the house is being torn out.

“The present long, deep lobby will be replaced with one of less depth but wider. A new balcony will be constructed and when finished, the total seating capacity of both orchestra and balcony will be 1,300.

“The cost of the improvements, it is estimated, will be between $15,000 and $20,000.

“On reopening, the name of the Hippodrome will be changed to a shorter and more suitable one, which has not yet been selected.”

In 1917, The Hippodrome was bucking the trend to higher admission prices in movie theaters, according to the March 3 issue of MPW:
“Hippodrome Battles for 5-Cent Admission.

“Keokuk, Ia. — The three motion picture theaters in Keokuk are having a war on prices. The Grand started the trouble when it raised prices to twenty-five cents on regular feature nights, when showing Paramount, Metro and Triangle. Soon after the Orpheum joined forces with the Garden and on the only three nights, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that they are open, they, too, charged twenty-five cents for feature subjects. The opposition, the Hippodrome, is battling hard, showing the biggest features it can secure for only five cents.”

The earliest mention of the Hippodrome I’ve found is from The New York Clipper of December 6, 1913. The earliest reference to the Regent I’ve found is an appearance by the Denishawn Dance Company on February 28, 1924, but the name was most likely adopted immmediately following the 1922 remodeling.

RickB on December 20, 2014 at 9:37 am

The fire occurred in the early hours of May 12, 1975, destroying neighboring buildings as well as the theater. Here is a newspaper front page with a wire service story (site may try to sell you a subscription).

DavidZornig on August 9, 2015 at 12:51 am

1939 photo added courtesy of the AmeriCar The Beautiful Facebook page.

dallasmovietheaters on June 21, 2022 at 10:13 pm

The Hippodrome was a $20,000 venue built of stone in downtown Keokuk in 1912. It launched with motion pictures and vaudeville on August 29, 1912.

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