112 N. Broadway Street,
Canton, SD 57013

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This theatre appears on the 1917 Sanborn, in a location that was a vacant lot in 1911. The building was a basic one-story concrete block structure, and was likely built in conjunction with a garage of identical form and materials, which was located to the south.

It’s unknown when this closed, but both buildings were demolished long ago. The location is now a parking lot.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 16, 2023 at 1:27 am

The only theater listed at Canton in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory was called the Lyric. It is still listed in the 1926 FDY, along with the Opera House, but no seating capacity is listed for either house. After that Canton is represented only by the Kennedy or the Lowell, both of which we list as akas for the Opera House.

It looks like a straightforward story, but alas, the trade journals throw a curve. There might have been a second (or third) theater in Canton by 1916, which might or might not have been the Opera House under an aka. The November 13, 1915 Moving Picture World mentions the Lyric, but only a few paragraphs earlier had said that “Bansall & Justensen of Kearny, Neb., will open a moving picture theater at Canton, S.D..” A year later, a November 11, 1916 MPW item datelined Canton says that “Manager Clifford Bowman of the Empress theater has changed the theater’s name to the Paramount-Empress.” An item datelined Canton in the October 6, 1917 MPW says “[t]he Empress theater has been leased by J. C. Marsh.”

So, the Empress might have been this house at 112 N. Broadway, or the name might have been an aka for the Opera House, but if there’d been a third theater in Canton in 1917 it would have to have been on any Sanborn map drawn before October that year. Of course I can’t think of anything that would preclude 112 Broadway from having operated as the Lyric in 1914 and 1915 and then again by 1926, and as the Empress in 1915 and 1917.

Canton also had an earlier movie theater, the Dreamland, mentioned in an April, 1908 MPW. It was located in the Syndicate Block, and in 1908 was managed by partners named Sullivan and Collins.

SethG on November 16, 2023 at 5:09 am

There was an earlier opera house on S Main, which disappears between 1911 and 1917. It was wooden, located above a store. I found the Dreamland. Still on the 1911 map, I just missed it.

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