307 Washington Avenue,
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Architects: Robert O. Boller, Dietz Lusk Jr.
Firms: Boller & Lusk
Functions: Community Arts Center
Previous Names: New Avenue Theatre
The New Avenue Theatre opened in 1950 with Bob Hope in “Fancy Pants”. It had a seating capacity for 475 in orchestra and balcony levels. It was a small local theatre built in a Neo-Art Deco style. It operated as a movie theatre until 1986.
It was then donated to the Arts on the Avenue, Inc. This non-profit organization was formed to convert the facility into a community theatre. It re-opened in May 1990, and now hosts a variety of programs including a children’s program during the summer.
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I can send a picture of the building in question if you like. It’s a tan brick building with a large skylight in the vertical portion of the facade.
Actually there is very nice, original neon on the sign. It was not working for a short period, but has been repaired for sometime now. It is a true gem.
Right, the sign. Not the marquee.
Here is the website for the theater organization. The site appears to be under construction:
There is a photo of the theater on this site:
From Boxoffice magazine, May 1950:
The St. Louis Theater Supply Co. recently sold about 500 International seats to Dean Davis for his new Avenue Theater, now under construction in West Plains, Mo.
The phrase, “Yellow Submarine” comes to mind.
What an awful paint scheme.
Dean Davis operated an Avenue Theatre in West Plains prior to 1950, when this house was built. The January 21, 1950, issue of Boxoffice Magazine announced that construction bids had been taken for Dean Davis’s new theater at West Plains on the 17th of that month. The item didn’t give the name of the new house, but said that Davis was the operator of the Davis and Avenue theaters in West Plains. The new theater had been designed by Boller & Lusk of Kansas City.
The March 11, 1950, issue of Boxoffice said that construction was proceeding and the new house would be open by June. It would be called the New Avenue Theatre and would have 500 seats (the January 11 issue had said 510 seats.) Equipment from the old Avenue Theatre would be moved to the new house. The item gave the location of the old Avenue Theatre as a leased building on the east side of Washington Avenue, and its seating capacity as 350. It said that Davis had operated this house for several years.
The name New Avenue Theatre must not have stuck for very long, as Boxoffice was back to calling it simply the Avenue Theatre within a couple of years. I don’t know what became of the old Avenue Theatre, but as Davis didn’t own the building it might have been reopened by another operator under another name.
I read on a site about hauntings that a lady once killed her baby in the balcony at this theatre. I don’t necessarily believe in ghosts, but does anyone know if such an event did take place?
Website has been hacked. Showtimes are listed on their Facebook page or by phone.