Friday, March 23, 2007

A Legitimate Question

The very elongated group photo above is supposedly the Princess Theatre of Des Moines, circa 1920. It was part of a collection of photos of a Fordson industry exposition held at the Fairgrounds around 1923, which was definitely in Des Moines, but...the Princess photo just doesn't look or feel like what we know of the actual Princess Theatre built on 4th street in the summer of 1909. The color postcard shown is from the theatre's opening play, "Clothes", and as you can see, the fa├žade is nothing like that in the grayscale photo. At first, I thought maybe that Princess was still a work in progress, but there are too many differences to make that possible. Additionally, the year is way off.

So: this isn't our Princess. But more interestingly: whose Princess is it? Judging by the lack of buildings in the area, it's likely somewhere in a small town near Des Moines. But I have no idea where. Anybody got a good guess?

And another "legitimate" question: why do I bother discussing a legit theatre here in the world of Lost Cinemas? Because the Princess was begun by the entrepreneurial duo that jump-started the whole phenomenon in Des Moines: Kip Elbert and Jack Getchell, who began with the Mulberry street arcade, leading up to the opening of the Nickeldome on Locust Street in 1905. And it was their success with the Nickeldome that led to a long and successful career with the Princess.

(The Princess sat where Capitol Square is now.)


Blues Historian said...

Ouch spam!

You know that looks an awfully lot like the mansons building located on 2nd ave. the facade faces south and has the pilars like that. everytime I look at it that strikes me as what it might be.

Tom Gary

Blues Historian said...

I met Masons, but actually it looks like the Scottish Rites Temple on second ave???