Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Ideal, Recently

The Ideal's latest incarnation, at the same old address of 2447 E. Walnut, is that of an 8-plex apartment building. The new front awning and fa├žade completely obliterate what little was left of the red and black deco tile from its theater days--in fact the only theater element I could see that still remained was the awning supports, still hanging down across the face, holding up nothing.

This photo is from my recent trip back to Des Moines, during which I tried to film/photograph whatever I could find for my documentary--a difficult task since there is even less to find than ever before! The screen at the Plantation was gone, and numerous locations (Eastown/1536, Amuzu, Capitol Drive-In, and others) were vacant lots--not a scrap of rubble to be found. The fine folks at Ed Garner's Autorama were nice enough to let me poke around their RV lot--formerly the Pioneer Drive-In--and shoot the screen there, nearly blocked by 20-odd years of tree growth. (They said the marquee sign was back there somewhere, but I couldn't find it at all.) Oddest of all, the Forest Theater building was constantly in the news--currently the home of Creative Visions, which is being audited very publicly.

On the upside, Des Moines appears to be finally putting some faith in itself again--everywhere, massive construction and renovation. Lots of old downtown buildings converted to living quarters again. New bridges everywhere. A vastly improved MLK parkway. Good going, gang.
Now just get a decent parking lot near the Ingersoll and get that opened up again, and you'll be all right!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Holy moly- I grew up just down the street from the Ideal (literally, I was on Walnut in the 2300 block) and I never knew it used to be a movie theatre. I knew where the once grocery store and hair dresser's and fire department all were, but not that one. It's kinda sick what's happened to the local neighborhood in the last half century.

My dad pointed out the Pioneer screen to us every single time we drove by. I was a year old when it closed.

I suppose you know, but there was another drive-in way out on NE 14th and Broadway- I couldn't tell you the name or when it closed, but my Dad could. The concrete pilings for the marquee are still there, but that's all.