Empress Theatre

410 Main Street,
Cedar Falls, IA 50613

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Packard's Opera House

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Empress Theatre

The Packard’s Opera House was opened by 1885. It became the Empress Theatre in 1910 and closed in 1929. Was never a talkie, just a silent house.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

kencmcintyre on June 15, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Here is a news item from the Cedar Falls Record in August 1914:

janetmercurio on September 7, 2017 at 9:08 pm

My grandfather worked as a projectionist at the Empress when he was a teenager in the 1910’s. I was unable to read the article above about the change of ownership, so if you, Ken, can transcribe it here as a comment, please, I’d really appreciate it. And I’ll add details of what my grandfather said about working at the Empress when I get a chance. He worked there and at a theater that his father bought and ran, also in Cedar Falls, I believe. His cousins also owned and operated theaters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Nice to have found this website. Thank you for creating and maintaining it!

SethG on July 17, 2023 at 5:04 pm

The Empress was actually quite an old building, and was built sometime before 1885 as an opera house. The 1892 to 1900 maps call it Packard’s Opera House, but the 1909 map notes that it is being used as a garage. It seems to have been cut down by about ten feet in front during its revival as a theater.

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