Ideal Theater

216 Wooster Avenue,
Akron, OH 44307

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The Ideal Theater began advertising in 1913 and was located at the corner of Wooster Avenue and Kolb Street (244 Wooster Avenue). It was a rarity in that it was started by a female operator, Gertrude R. Moore and she owned the land and was the supervisor of the building’s construction and its equipment procurement. Seating just 249 at the opening, hundreds more were turned away. “The Battle Cry of Peace” was one of the theater’s more successful films accompanied by a six-piece orchestra. The cautionary exploitation film, “The Miracle of Life,” was a controversial hit.

The Ideal Theater would have a nearly 40-year run likely on two, 20-year leases. The theater was a target of a suspected arson in early-1929 with 200 children in the theater. as the theater wasn’t using union projectionists. Cashier and wife of new operator Park E. Palmer got all but one child out without injuries. Repairs were made and the Palmers reopened. The venue was then dynamited for suspected usage of non-union workers in July of 1929. That fire blew the front of the venue off closing it for months. It was a tough time for new Ideal Theater operator Palmer who would attempt suicide unsuccessfully before finally succeeding just months later.

On March 1, 1930, after both repairs and being wired for sound, the Ideal Theater reopened with “Broadway Melody.” Operating the venue was the Ideal’s second female operator in widow, Mrs. Park Palmer. She would sell the operation and it would change hands several times. The onset of television took its final toll on the operation.

The last Ideal Theater operator, George Swisher, closed the venue on March 30, 1952 citing lack of attendance. During a highway project and urban renewal, the theater was demolished, 244 Wooster does not quite exist, and Kolb Street was eradicated. So the 216 Wooster Avenue is provided just for mapping purposes and was just a few doors away from where the Ideal Theater once stood.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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