Category Archives: Movie Theatres

Orpheum Theater Center (Marshalltown, Iowa)

Orpheum Theater Center (Marshalltown, Iowa)

In 2001, operations at the two-screen Orpheum Theater were discontinued as the owners shifted their focus to the growing multiplex at Marshalltown’s mall. When it looked like the Orpheum was destined to be demolished, local citizens formed a non-profit organization, The Orpheum Centre Inc., dedicated to purchasing and restoring the historic theatre, which was originally built as a single-screen movie house in 1948. The organization purchased the building from the Iowa-based Fridley Theatres chain in 2002 and began efforts to renovate and repair the dated facilities. In 2005, the organization partnered with the Iowa Valley Community College district to repurpose the theater as a multi-use facility. The $3.4 million renovation project was completed in July 2010, and the theater reopened with a 4-day celebration that brought more than 1,000 guests.

The revived theater began showing classic movies on the weekends, at a cost of just $3 per ticket. Theatre Director Pip Gordon told the Marshalltown Times-Republican his goal was to “have a family of four get admission, popcorn and a drink for under $20.” Attached to the theater is the Orpheum Coffee Shop, which is open Monday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch, serving coffee, smoothies, wraps, ice cream, and more. Community College courses began in the Orpheum in Fall 2010.

For more information, including showtimes, see the Orpheum Theater’s website. Continue reading Orpheum Theater Center (Marshalltown, Iowa)

Castle Theatre (Manchester, Iowa)

Castle Theatre (Manchester, Iowa)

The Castle Theatre originally opened in the Delaware County seat of Manchester on June 25, 1935. Considered state-of-the-art at the time, the movie house not only featured a well-appointed theatre room with a seating capacity of 500, but also the latest motion picture equipment from Western Electric Company. When the community received word the theatre was planned for closure in 2009, a group of Manchester residents formed a non-profit group to raise money to purchase the theatre and make plans for its long-term operation.

After taking over ownership of the Castle Theatre in September 2009, members and friends of the Friends of Castle Theatre group have spent hundreds of hours cleaning the lobby, concession area, and auditorium. Additional investments were made to repaint the lobby and upgrade the theatre projection equipment. Following the initial round of improvements, the theatre reopened with a fresh look on October 23, 2009, and a formal grand opening celebration was held the following month.

For movies and showtimes, visit the Castle Theatre website or call (563) 927-5726.

Humota Theatre (Humboldt, Iowa)

Humota Theatre (Humboldt, Iowa)

The Humboldt Independent touted the July 1928 opening of the Humota Theatre as “more proof that Humboldt was a prospering little city.” The Humota was considered to be one of the finest in northwest Iowa, with fireproof walls, state-of-the-art “moving picture machines,” leather-cushioned seats, and attractive side lighting. The name was proposed by resident John Green as a combination of the adjacent Humboldt and Dakota City. “Humota” was chosen over suggested alteratives including “Idelhour,” “Dreamland,” “Taft,” and others.

The first picture shown at the theatre was “The Cossacks,” a silent black-and-white film considered to be one of the best productions of 1928. Though a specific count wasn’t provided, the Independent wrote the new movie house drew a “splendid crowd” on its opening evening and a “success both considering the entertainment and the reception of the new building by the public.”

A major remodeling project in 1983 added the metal exterior along with entirely new auditorium seating.  Additional upgrades were made to the theatre in 2008, when cup holders were added to seats, a new screen was installed, and a digital surround stereo was implemented. Movies are shown twice daily at the Fridley Theatre-owned single-screen theatre with an additional matinee showing on Saturdays and Sundays.

Royal III Theatre (Le Mars, Iowa)

Royal III Theatres (Le Mars, Iowa)

Residents in the Plymouth County seat of Le Mars were left with a void when the Royal III movie theatre closed its doors in November 2009. After sitting empty for over a year, Sioux City resident Eric Hilsabeck purchased the former theatre December 29, 2010. Before reopening, the interior will be updated to comply with current building and fire codes, and the restroom and lobby will be enlarged. In addition, the three theatres will be upgraded with new seats, curtains, and speakers, plus high-definition projectors and screens capable of showing 3-D films.

The city is assisting the project with a $150,000 forgivable loan. Hilsabeck says the revamped Royal III Theatre will show first run movies at least 50 cents cheaper than the closest cinemas in Sioux City and Sioux Center.  The theatre is expected to reopen this spring.

Special Feature: RAGBRAI Overnight Towns

Sponsored by the Des Moines Register, RAGBRAI is an annual seven-day bicycle ride across the state and holds the title of oldest, largest, and longest bicycle touring event in the world. The overnight stops for the 39th annual RAGBRAI were revealed this evening. Iowa Backroads has a photo from each town:

Glenwood (Mills County)
Glenwood Public Library (Featured August 12, 2010)

Glenwood Public Library (Glenwood, Iowa)

Atlantic (Cass County)
Atlantic 1 & 2 Theatres

Atlantic Theatre (Atlantic, Iowa)

Continue reading Special Feature: RAGBRAI Overnight Towns