Fisk Theatre

103 W. Dakota Street,
Butler, MO 64730

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Previous Names: Butler opera House

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Fisk Theatre

The 1,000-seat Butler Opera House was opened by 1885. It was renamed Fisk Theatre in 1931. It was named after Mr. Charles L. Fisk who was the head of the amusement business in Butler. Before the Fisk Theatre opened movies were shown at the Opera House which was also owned by Mr. Fisk. The theatre seated 400. It was destroyed by fire on January 5, 1951.

Contributed by Chris1982

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Granola on August 28, 2015 at 4:07 pm


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 28, 2018 at 2:30 pm

The complete destruction of the Fisk Theatre building by fire on January 5, 1951, was reported in the January 13 issue of Boxoffice. The fire was thought to have started in a grocery store next door. Though Charles Fisk said he planned to rebuild as soon as the rubble could be cleared from the site, he had carried only $10,000 of insurance on the house, so it is possible that he was unable to raise the money to rebuild. Fisk also owned the Butler Theatre, which was open at least as late as 1957. The small town also had a drive-in, so probably didn’t need another indoor theater.

This photo shows the Fisk Theatre and the adjacent building, as well as a building in the background which is still standing on the southeast corner of Dakota and Delaware Streets. The Fisk was very close to the corner, and its site in now under part of the footprint of the modern building occupied in Google street view by Butler Music. I think we can mark this theater as demolished.

SethG on August 20, 2019 at 10:53 am

The Fisk and the opera house are the same building. It was constructed by 1885, and the 1914 map shows a capacity of 900. The auditorium occupied the second floor. By 1892, no businesses are listed on the ground floor. It’s likely the auditorium remained where it was, but the ground floor storefronts were replaced by a lobby. The balcony was very deep, with a curved front, and wings extending along the side. By 1914, the stage had been remodeled to a flat front. No mention is made on the 1914 map of movies being shown.

SethG on August 20, 2019 at 10:57 am

The 1905 Cahn guide lists it as the ‘Butler Opera House’, managed by J.A. Trimble, and with a capacity of 1,000. Obviously, this is well before movies, but Fisk is not identified for sure as the owner until the 1914 map.

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