Ingersoll Theatre, 3711 Ingersoll

The Ingersoll Theatre opened in 1939. A Des Moines Register article said the “modern” movie house was “touted as having a full heating and air conditioning system to keep moviegoers comfortable in any weather.”

Its management bragged about the staggered seating arrangement, giving patrons an unobstructed view of the screen without craning around people in the row ahead. A 1940 Des Moines Tribune article said it cost $35,000 to build the theater, and it seated 600. According to Paula Mohr at the State Historic Preservation Office, “The building is in the Art Moderne style and the architect was Wetherell and Harrison, one of Iowa’s most important and prolific architectural firms. The firm also designed the Capitol Theatre in Burlington, the Camelot in Nevada, and the Collegian in Ames.”

In June 1977, the movie theater closed. In the years since, the building has housed other tenants, most famously the Ingersoll dinner theater which closed several years ago. There is new interest in the building and possible uses could include a Cuban Restaurant or salsa club which could give new life to this old landmark. (Photo courtesy the State Historical Society of Iowa)

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