Colonial Theatre

20 W. Market Street,
Wabash, IN 46992

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SethG on June 18, 2020 at 12:47 pm

I don’t think the address is right, although W Market on the 1920 map is a bit garbled, with some addresses out of order. Where 20 is on the 1920 map is a tiny wooden barber shop. It would be under the west side of the antique mall. The parking lot replaced the Tremont Hotel, a large 3-story structure. This housed various businesses in the ground floor, so it’s conceivable that a theater opened there.

Unfortunately for Joe’s theory about this being a renamed theater, there are no theaters besides the Eagles on the north side of Market on the 1920 map. There is one on the 1910 map, but if this stayed open until the ‘50s, that can’t be it. The old picture on the Crest’s page seems to show the parking lot in existence by 1957. It is possible that this became the Crest, at 63 (on the other side of the street). The contributor is extremely unreliable with his addresses, and that theater was open by 1920 at the latest. Unfortunately, the 1931, '39, and '61 maps are not available online.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 2, 2018 at 9:36 pm

When the Dickson Brothers bought the Eagles Theatre (which they had been operating under a lease since 1913) the December 15, 1917 issue of Motography noted the event in a brief article which said that the Dicksons also were operating the Orpheum, Family, Dreamland and Colonial Theatres in Wabash.

This PDF of rather mysterious origin, undated, and frustratingly incomplete, has information from a state survey of historic Indiana theaters, and gives the aka’s Orpheum Theatre and Logan Theatre for the house last known as the Colonial. The 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory lists both the Orpheum and the Logan Theatres, but not the Colonial. Given that an Orpheum and Colonial were both in operation in 1917, the most likely explanation is that a new Orpheum Theatre had been opened sometime before 1914, and the original Orpheum was then renamed the Logan, but then the house had later been renamed again, becoming the Colonial Theatre by late 1917.

The earliest mention of the Orpheum I’ve found is in the May 1, 1910 issue of The Nickelodeon, which said the house would soon open on Market Street and would be under the same ownership as the Dreamland Theatre. The May 15 issue of the same journal noted that the Orpheum had opened, and that two other movie theaters were already operating in Wabash.