Hamilton Community Arts Theatre

ER Penny Drive,
Hamilton, MO 64644

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Additional Info

Functions: Live Theater

Previous Names: Artilla Theater, Civic Theater

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 816.583.2635

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Hamilton Community Arts Theatre

The Artilla Theater was destroyed in a fire in February 1949. Some local newspapers at the time announced owner H.T. Till’s intention to rebuild the theater. By the 1960’s it was operating as the Civic Theater. It was closed in the early-1970’s. After several years closure, it reopened as a community theater.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

TopCat on February 19, 2009 at 7:47 am

The theater was rebuilt by Mr. Till. I spent many Saturday nights there during the 1960’s and early 1970’s when the re-built theater was known as the Civic. Don’t know who owned/managed the theater during this time (I think there were several owners/managers), but I do recall a Mrs. Trosper sold tickets for a time. She was a really sweet lady. The Civic eventually closed for good in the early 1970’s and sat vacant for several years. The community eventually bought the building, fixed it up, added on to the building and now uses it as a community theater. Hamilton is a nice place and the birthplace & boyhood home of J.C. Penney.

kencmcintyre on February 19, 2009 at 9:30 am

Thanks for the info. I thought this address of Er Penny Drive was a typo, but some other sites have it as well.

kencmcintyre on February 19, 2009 at 10:04 am

I didn’t have any confirmation that the theater was rebuilt after the fire. Apparently it was.

kencmcintyre on February 19, 2009 at 10:13 am

My information was taken from some local papers on newspaperarchives.com. There were two or three stories around the date of the fire, with the same information reported in each one.

TopCat on February 20, 2009 at 6:19 am

This theater did burn and should probably be listed as closed/destroyed. I have always heard this theater referred to as the Till and have never heard it called the Artilla. It was replaced by a cinder block & brick building that may have been originally called the Till, but I only knew it as Civic. It is located on what is now call Penney Dr. J.C. Penney’s boyhood home sits across the street from the theater where the train depot used to stand. I’ve been told that the Artilla/Till was a reverse theater. When you entered the auditorium you were at the screen with the seats facing you. Considering the lay of the lot that makes sense. I would appreciate the link to the newspapers articles Ken Mc refers to.

SethG on August 25, 2018 at 8:06 pm

Maybe open again as some sort of live theater/event space? Building recently painted, and the lobby looks to be in pretty good shape. Inside the blah modern doors are a set of older doors which have an ‘H’ monogram. Not sure what the ‘H’ could have stood for. Maybe the ‘H’ in H.T.?

SethG on March 25, 2019 at 7:35 am

I think we should probably split the listings if we can confirm the name history. If the current building was never anything but the Civic, then it shouldn’t be listed as the Till/Artilla. Of course, it depends what exactly is meant by ‘destroyed’. It’s possible the original building was only gutted.

SethG on March 25, 2019 at 7:38 am

Street name is NOT East Penney, it’s ER Penney. That should help with mapping. The original name of the street was W McGaughy St.

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