Dreamland Theatre

10 E. Charles Street,
Oelwein, IA 50662

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Dreamland Theatre

The February 1914 Sanborn shows a ‘Picture Theatre’ in the eastern half of a rather basic single story brick over wood building. This was constructed sometime before 1894, and the 1906 map shows the entire structure being used as a billiard hall and cigar factory.

No later maps are available online, but this has been closed for many years. The facade appears to be a postwar remodel (possibly a remodel of a slightly older remodel), and the theater space is occupied by a CPA.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 20, 2023 at 6:56 am

One early Oelwein movie house was called the Dreamland Theatre, though no house of that name (or on Charles Street) is listed in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory. The July 12, 1913 Moving Picture World features a photo of a Mr. A. W. McIntosh, who, the caption says, “…commenced his picture exhibiting career eight years ago in the Dreamland Theater, Oelwein, Iowa.” That would have been 1905, so that theater should have shown up on the 1906 map, if it still existed then, and assuming Mr. McIntosh and the caption writer both got their numbers right.

SethG on August 20, 2023 at 7:31 am

The only possible theater on the Jan. 1906 map is an opera house in the upper stories of 9-13 N Frederick. That is just a ‘Hall’ on the 1914 map, and the building is still there.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 20, 2023 at 9:29 am

I suppose that might have been it, though a short-lived storefront nickelodeon is probably as likely at that early date. But in researching the opera house I found a projected one in 1906-07 that I think might have become the Ritz.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 20, 2023 at 5:21 pm

Whether it was at this address or not in 1905, the Dreamland was listed at 10 E. Charles Street in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory (I overlooked the listing before because I was looking at the OCS page, which has some garbled type, not the proper scan where it is quite clear.) In 1911, the May issue of Motography said that the Dreamland had recently been sold to Messrs. W. A. and D. E. Schneider.

SethG on August 20, 2023 at 7:38 pm

Thanks for finding the name!

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