Gallatin Theatre League

103 S. Main Street,
Gallatin, MO 64640

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Additional Info

Functions: Community Arts Center

Previous Names: Star Theatre, Courter Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Gallatin Theatre League

The Arbelia Opera House was destroyed by fire in November 1914. It was rebuilt as the Star Theatre. By 1926 it had been renamed Courter Theatre. Seating was listed at 435. The theatre was located at the corner of the town square.

The Courter Theatre was still operating in 1983. By February 2019 it was operating as a community theatre named Gallatin Theatre League.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 17, 2018 at 6:02 pm

A house called the Courter Theatre was in operation in 1966, when the September 29 issue of the Albany Ledger from Albany, Missouri, mentioned the Courter Theatre at Gallatin as one of four movie houses operated by a Mr. and Mrs. Fred Wilcox, who had just bought the closed Rigney Theatre in Albany and planned to reopen it as the Wilcox Theatre.

The problem is that I don’t know if this article concerned the original Courter Theatre, or the current Courter Theatre, which has existed since 1965 according to this article from the Davies County Historical Society. The Society’s article notes that the theater had both a movie screen and a concession stand, and had been owned by a non-profit group since 1965 and was showing movies as late as 1983.

Indeed, the reopening of the Courter Theatre following a refurbishment that took about four weeks was mentioned in Boxoffice of August 12, 1974. Then-manager John Schwieger was the manager of the house until resigning in 1983, according to the Historical Society article.

I have been assuming that the address 211 N. Main was indeed the location of the original Courter Theatre, but I have not found any source saying that the current Courter Theatre either was or was not the original, nor any source other than Cinema Treasures saying that the building at 211 N. Main ever housed a theater (though it certainly does look like it could have.) Either way, the current Courter Theatre at 105 S. Main Street (east side of Main just south of the square) and now the home of the Gallatin Theatre League, was operated as a movie house as late as 1983.

SethG on March 5, 2019 at 5:28 pm

Building appeared between the 1898 and 1905 Sanborn maps. On the latter, it is labeled ‘J.W. McClaskey Bus & Transfer’ [moving]. It’s vacant on the 1921 map. By the 2013 streetview, it is rather grim-looking housing.

SethG on March 5, 2019 at 5:49 pm

There is a potential ID issue here. The 1921 Sanborn map identifies the current home of the Gallatin Theater League as ‘moving pictures’. It’s quite obvious that this building was purpose built as a theater. I can’t find a street address, but it’s likely either 103 or 105 S Main. It’s the second building from the corner. Chuck often has errors in his listings, and it’s entirely possible that 211 N Main was never a theater. It seems at least likely that by the ‘60s, the purpose-built theater was the Courter. I have pictures of both buildings, and am happy to add them, but only if we’re sure both were theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 5, 2019 at 8:42 pm

A John Courter was mentioned as the new owner of the Star Theatre at Gallatin in the April 27, 1918 issue of Motography. No address is given. The 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory lists four theaters at Gallatin, but none are called the Star. They were the Arbelia Opera House, Chataqua Theatre, Duchess Theatre and Gem Theatre. The 1926 FDY lists only the Courter Theatre.

SethG on March 5, 2019 at 9:23 pm

It seems that the 211 N Main is an error, and that the Courter was the S Main structure. That corner was home to the Arbelia Opera House, which burned around 1910, and was then replaced by the bank and theater. That theater would have been in operation for at least 10 years before the supposed conversion of the old bus barn.

SethG on March 5, 2019 at 9:50 pm

The AMPD listing for the Chautauqua refers to an annual event held at a park. I suppose movies might have been shown, but it wasn’t a theater. Unfortunately, the Sanborn choices are 1905, which is far too early for theaters (although the opera house is shown), and 1921, by which time only one building is listed as a theater. If the Arbelia is listed in 1914-15, then the Duchess and Gem cannot be the name of the theater that replaced it. Star is a definite possibility, the style of the buildings suggests they were built right around World War I. If Courter owned the Star, it makes sense that he later renamed it for himself. If he had a ready-made theater, it makes no sense to convert a bus barn. 435 seats seems really low for such a cavernous building, but not for a narrow one-story theater with a tiny balcony.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 5, 2019 at 10:08 pm

The Townsend Block and Arbelia Opera House burned in November, 1914, according to this web page. The fire was also noted in the December 9 issue of Fire and Water Engineering. The timing of the event late in the year would account for the Arbelia having been listed in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory, which would have been published before the fire. It seems quite likely that the replacement theater was the house that later became the Courter. It also seems likely that the same house was the Star Theatre that John Courter took over in 1918.

SethG on March 6, 2019 at 6:01 am

Good research. Now we need to correct the listing to remove the reference to the silversmith, which is defunct anyway, change the status to open (community theater), and add the webpage:

I’ll add a picture. It’s not on the corner. That building was a bank. It’s the next building down, which is the same style, but a separate structure. The Arbelia AKA should be removed, since that was a completely different building. If the Arbelia showed movies, we should add that as a separate listing.

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.