Cheap Theater - Emporia, Kansas
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 38° 24.335 W 096° 10.801
14S E 746240 N 4254583
Quick Description: This two-story red brick building is located at 616 N Commercial in Emporia, Kansas.
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 5/10/2020 9:33:17 AM
Waymark Code: WM12EHC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 0

Long Description:
My Commentary: It's really interesting what you can find when researching old buildings. I wouldn't have guessed that this would have been an old movie house back in the really early days of movies. I wasn't able to find any other information other than what the National Register Application gave, but still, really interesting.

Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. Status: Contributing
Address: 614 N COMMERCIAL ST
Date of Construction: 1893 (Estimated); 1950 (Estimated)
Parcel ID: 192-10-0-40-36-006.00-0
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade
Current Function: Commerce/Trade - Specialty Store
Architectural Classification: Modern/Modern Movement

This brick two-part commercial block reflects a mid-twentieth century remodeling. Two parallel bands of four, one-over-one hopper windows define the single bay in the upper façade wall. The aluminum-framed storefront features large display glass resting on a low bulkhead and a recessed, full-light entrance door. Long thin, buff brick cladding surrounds the street-level entrance to the second floor, which occurs at the north end of the first story. A shallow visor awning spans the top of the storefront. Cast stone trim surrounds each window group in the upper façade wall and also spans the parapet wall with decorative parallel horizontal grooves.

The current façade dates to ca. 1950. There was a two-story building at this location by 1884, when the building housed a harness shop. By 1888, the building was listed as a one-story structure. The building housed a grocery in 1893. The 1893 Sanborn map notes that the building was damaged by fire in June 1893. By 1899, there was again a two-story building on the site with a tin front. There was a clothing store here then. In 1905, it housed a hardware and harness shop. By 1911, it had been converted to a "Cheap Theatre." It was still a movie theater in 1923. It was a bake shop in 1929 and 1946. In 1949, this was listed as the location of the Aroma Café Restaurant. The renovation likely dated to the building’s conversion for use by the Brown’s Shoe Fit Co, which occupied the building in the 1950s and 1960s. Between 1966 and 1975, this was Diana’s Hallmark.

This building is classified as a contributor because it retains its ca. 1950 appearance.

- National Register Application

Historic Name: Myser China, Glass, and Silver

Historic Function: Commerce/Trade

Subcategory: Specialty Store

Historic Function Remarks: This building was built between 1888 and 1893. In 1893, there was a meat market in the south half of the first floor, a plumbing shop and harness shop shared the north half. There was a doctor's office on the second floor. The plumbing shop had moved out by 1899. By 1905, there was a clothing store in the north half. In 1911, there was a marble works in the north half. The Myser China, Glass and Silver business was established in 1895 when brothers A. F. and L. J. Myser purchased the stock of H. G. Fitzer. The business was first located at 621 Commercial. In 1923, Myser's moved to this building, occupying the storefront at 616 Commercial. In 1935, Myser was recognized as someone who had "been in business longer than anyone else on Commercial Street." The china business was greatly impacted by World War II. European stock was hard to come by, so the store began to stock mostly American-made products. In 1943, A. F. Myser announced plans to "quit business after 48 years," stating that it was "not essential" during wartime. Myser died in 1950. For years, Myser shared his storefront with Francis S. Reider, a jeweler. Early on, Reider had his jewelry store elsewhere on the block. He was forced to move when Newman's Department Store expanded. At the time of Reider's death in 1953, Reider had worked on Commercial for 68 years. The Mysers and Reiders were related. (Emporia Gazette, 26 May 1933; 19 September 1934; 6 Jun 1938; 28 December 1942; 16 March 1953; 22 November 1961; 20 February 1935; 21 February 1939; 11 March 1940; 5 February 1932; 3 May 1943; 16 April 1949; 7 March 1950; 4 May 1950; 24 June 1943)

Present Function: Commerce/Trade

Subcategory: Restaurant

Present Function Remarks: Commercial Street Diner

Residential/Commercial/Religious Style: Richardsonian Romanesque/Romanesque Revival

Physical Description/Remarks: This brick two-part commercial block occupies a double-width lot and is seven bays wide. Upper-story fenestration defines the bays and is comprised of alternating paired window openings under round arches and tall, narrow, single window openings with flat lintels. Aluminum-framed storefront systems occupy the street-level bays, each with single full-light entrance doors flanked by display windows. The north storefront has a recessed entrance with angled display windows leading inward. Both storefront transoms are covered with non-historic EIFS and vinyl siding. The street-level entrance to the second floor is centered in the first story between the two storefronts. Historic character-defining features include: the stone parapet coping; the decorative brick work at cornice level including dentils and short engaged piers with stone bases; the stone windowsills; and the quarry-faced stone window hoods. Some historic one-over-one wood windows appear to be intact, whiles others appear to be non-historic replacements.

Plan Form: Rectangle

Commercial Building Type: Two-Part Commercial Block

Roof Form: Flat with Parapet

Stories: 2

Condition: Good

Principal Material: Brick

Architect/Designer/Builder: Unknown

Year of Construction: 1890

Certainty: Estimated

- Kansas Historic Resource Inventory

Year Theater Opened: 1905

Ticket Price (local currency): 0.00 (listed in local currency)

Matinee Price (local currency): 0.00 (listed in local currency)

Number of Screen(s): 1

Concessions Available: no

Web site: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
Must take a photo of the theater.
Please try to include yourself or gps in the picture.
Tell of your experience at the theater, if it is still a theater. If it is no longer a theater tell of an experience from the past at the theater, if this can be done.
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