Rocket Theatre

615 Locust Street,
Des Moines, IA 50309

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Tri-State Theaters

Architects: Norman T. Vorse

Previous Names: Garden Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Rocket Theatre

The Garden Theatre sat on the north side of Locust Street, directly facing the Strand Theatre. It was opened May 2, 1914. It had no balcony and was rather plain. It ran mostly second-run releases and B movies, but not too many oaters.

On April 15, 1949 it was renamed Rocket Theatre and closed in June 1953.

Contributed by Swede

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 29, 2010 at 4:46 am

This web page about Des Moines architect Norman T. Vorse says that he designed the Garden Theatre, among others. As the Garden was in operation before 1919, when Vorse merged his practice with that of the Kraetsch Brothers, this was one of his solo projects.

Chris1982 on November 12, 2014 at 11:46 pm

The Garden Theatre, at 615 Locust, was one of the more attractive showplaces downtown, and had a long run, surviving floods and the Depression, from 1917 through 1951. As with the RKO Orpheum’s later transformation into the Galaxy, it was thought that a modern name change might keep patrons away from their new televisions, but the new monicker Rocket must not have worked well—it lasted about a year until the theater closed forever in 1952.

rivest266 on November 28, 2015 at 3:38 pm

April 15th, 1949 reopening ad as Rocket in photo section.

dallasmovietheaters on February 21, 2016 at 3:10 am

Norman T. Vorse architected the Garden for Abraham H. Blank The Garden opened May 2, 1914 with “Goodness Gracious” in the old Odd Fellows building. The $100,000 theatre’s multi-colored terra cotta design was distinctive and the 900-pipe, $15,000 William Schuelke organ entertained the opening crowd. Arthur Hays was the organist and also conducted the Garden Orchestra.

Tri-States changed the Garden to the Rocket April 14, 1949. It dropped the struggling theater in 1951. It soldiered on independently until closing with a tax lien in June of 1953.

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