Beaver Theater

2706 Beaver Avenue,
Des Moines, IA 50310

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Additional Info

Previous Names: Gem Theater

Nearby Theaters

Beaver Theater

Opened as the Gem Theater in 1936, the Beaver Theater closed in 1957.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Chris1982 on November 13, 2014 at 2:18 am

The Beaver started its career as the Gem in 1936, then took its neighborhood namesake in 1936, running as such until its closure in 1957

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 13, 2014 at 2:56 pm

A history of the Acanthus Lodge of Masons has this to say about the building the Gem Theatre occupied:

“…a building was erected at 2706-2708 Beaver Avenue by Dr. L. H. Chamberlain, with Acanthus Lodge assuming a ten year lease on the entire second floor. The plans for this floor were in accordance with the requirements of the lodge. It was not until 1935 that the building was completed and the lodge was able to move. On March 4, 1935, the new hall was opened at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon for a public reception.”
However, this item appeared in the Iowa “Changes in Ownership” column in the May 27, 1930, issue of The Film Daily: “Des Moines—Gem, sold to L. H. Chamberlain by Roy Jones.”

Chamberlain’s name appears in two items in The Film Daily in 1931, too, both saying that he was planning to build a $50,000 theater in Des Moines. I Haven’t found any later items about that project, so I don’t know if it was carried out. It’s possible that he had to put the project on hold until the economy improved, and that it was this house.

It’s also possible that the history of the Masonic Lodge, which has a 2013 copyright date, was mistaken about the building on Beaver Avenue having been entirely new in 1935, and that it was the Gem Theatre Chamberlain bought in 1930 rebuilt to accommodate the second floor lodge hall. The Acanthus Lodge moved to a new building in 1950, and the details of what happened in 1935 might have gotten muddled.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 15, 2015 at 4:52 pm

I still don’t know if the Gem Theatre that Roy Jones sold to L. H. Chamberlain in 1930 was demolished, or merely expanded to accommodate the Masonic Lodge upstairs, or if the lodge and new theater were actually on a different site than the original theater, but the Gem could have been the house that was the subject of this item from the November 28, 1925, issue of The Film Daily:

“Des Moines — Plans are being drawn by W. D. Holtzman, 406 Flynn Bldg.. Archt., for erection of theatre bldg. and stores (2) on site 100 x 50 ft. to be erected on Beaver St. nr. Sheridan. Owner — R. G. Jones, c/o Archt.”
I don’t see the Gem listed in the 1927 FDY, but it’s possible that it opened under a different name.

MichaelKilgore on June 8, 2019 at 7:03 pm

The July 8, 1950 issue of BoxOffice noted that “Paul E. Anderson, 52, operator of the Beaver”, died after an eight-month illness. “Anderson had operated the Beaver for the last 15 years.”

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.