Crescent Theatre

340 S. Prairie Street,
Upland, NE 68981

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Additional Info

Functions: Auto Repair Shop, Fraternal Hall, Opera House, Retail

Previous Names: Upland Opera House, Upland Theatre, Rex Theatre, MWA Hall, Upland Opera Hall

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The Upland Opera Hall was a live venue that appears to have opened in 1902 in downtown Upland, Nebraska. In 1908, it became home to the Modern Woodsmen Association as the M.W.A. Hall. But motion pictures proved so popular in the summer of 1910 that a new business model was born. The Crescent Theatre Company moved to a policy of full-time movies in the Hall. It had its grand opening on August 11, 1910 with ten cent showings of “electric moving pictures, illustrated songs and catchy music” that would not offend and that “every effort would be made to please”.

“A.H.” Henry Petersen would take over the programming of the Crescent Theatre in 1915 which alternated between movies as the Crescent and live fare as the Upland Opera House. Petersen would eventually change the theatre’s name to the Rex Theatre and would mix in the name of Upland Theatre for live events in 1919.

With a ten-year lease coming due, the Upland Auto Company took over the Opera Hall lease with a plan to convert the venue into a Ford auto dealership. Petersen would be a leader in the building of a new and larger Opera Hall. Upon completion, Petersen decided that the Rex Theatre programming and nameplate should simply move to the new 500-seat Opera Hall which transpired at the new venue’s launch on September 28, 1920.

The old Opera House was kept open and renamed to its original Crescent Theatre but only continued from October 1920 to December of 1920 before closing permanently. After a run as a Ford dealer, the former Opera Hall / MWA Hall building was converted for other retail purposes. It was still standing in the 21st Century with both the Opera Hall and MWA Hall signage still showing. The replacement Opera Hall was destroyed in a fire in 1930 and has its own Cinema Treasures entry.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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