American Theatre

218 W. Main Street,
Cherokee, IA 51012

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Additional Info

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Happy Hour Theatre

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American Theatre

The Happy Hour Theatre was Sisk and James' first operation. It was open by 1913, in an old two-story brick building constructed sometime between 1880 and 1883. The 1909 map shows a drug store here.

It was renamed the American Theatre during World War I in a bit of jingoistic marketing. It was closed on January 2, 1920, as Sisk and James intended to relocate to a new, much larger building to the east. They ran out of money to finish the new 750-seat American Theatre, and it was not completed until 1925, under new ownership (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures).

The new owner of the old theatre location installed a new facade and renamed it the Cooper Building. It is in decent shape today and houses a consignment shop.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 26, 2024 at 8:39 am

The Happy Hour Theater at Cherokee, Iowa was mentioned in the March 8, 1913 issue of The Billboard. A vaudeville duo named Helistrom (sp?) and Mybre were appearing there.

SethG on March 26, 2024 at 12:23 pm

Information posted by Joe on the Empress listing sheds some new light. The Happy Hour was opened by a Mr. Ferris, who sold it to Sisk and James in July of 1916. He kept the Happy Hour name and moved it to the Empress, which he had just purchased. Sisk and James supplied the new name, but the US didn’t enter the war for another year. This makes two Americans, and two Happy Hours!

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