Empress Theatre

309 N. Locust Street,
Grand Island, NE 68801

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Empress Theatre

The Empress Theatre was a long-running theatre that launched October 8, 1911 with silent films, live vaudeville and illustrated songs. It remained silent and when new theatres in town such as the Capitol Theatre and Island Theatre in 1927, the Empress Theatre struggled to find its identity. It closed twice in the late-1920’s reopening once with German silent films and once again with silent westerns.

William N. Younclaus leased the property and equipped the theatre for sound. It lacked capacity and modern air conditioning so operated part year. Home to a church for many years, the Empress Theatre appears to have closed in June 1938. Youngclaus had purchased the property with a plan to raze the building after the War and build a 1,200 seat theatre in its place. That plan appears not to have materialized. Instead, Youngclaus reopened the theatre and it was still operational in 1947.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

robboehm on December 12, 2020 at 11:04 am

Uploaded a photo with the Empress on the right and the image of a postcard being offered on ebay with the Empress on the left.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 12, 2020 at 4:05 pm

robboehm: If you right click a photo at eBay and some other sites, and select “open in new tab” or “open in new window” from the drop-down menu, you will usually get a larger, higher resolution copy of the photo. Sometimes if you repeat the process with that larger photo you can get an even bigger one.

rivest266 on August 30, 2023 at 1:12 pm

Opened October 7th, 1911. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on August 30, 2023 at 2:26 pm

Closed 1928 and reopened March 31st, 1935. 1935 ad posted.

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