Our boat parts and repair shop at 930 Osage, Kansas City, KS has a unique history. In 1922, the newly constructed building opened as the Osage Theater. Richard Biechelle, owner, built the theater for $50,000 which would seat 1000. Prior to 1922 there had been smaller theater at this same location but I was unable to find details about it. It was destroyed or torn down for this 1922 theater.
The debut movie on February 26, 1922 was “A Sailor-Made Man” staring Harold Lloyd.
The theater ran for close to 30 years in Armourdale. It was a favorite entertainment spot for both kids and adults in this hard working community. I uncovered a Google Book titled, “The Kid from Armourdale” in which Lloyd E Houser describes growing up in Armourdale during the depression. He mentions finding ways to earn money to go to the Osage Movie Theater on a Friday night. His young brother, with no money of his own, bawled and bawled his way into going. Lloyd offered to pay the 1 penny to get Bill into the show as his mom only had 9 cents in her purse. Lloyd’s story of that Friday night is certainly entertaining and can be found here.
In 1948 the theater experienced a roof collapse which injured some customers. The theater was repaired and re-opened for a few more years.
The 1951 flood of the Armourdale area forced the closing of the theater and it was never to be re-opened. Apparently repairs were done to the building and the front exterior greatly changed to what it looks like today. The windows along the side of the building remain the same however. Inside you can find the projector room and the window through which the movies were shown. You can even see the arch of the screen curtain and stage. Additionally you can still see water marks on the interior walls where the flood waters crested.
If you stop by during our down time (in the winter) perhaps we can give you a tour.