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Empress Theatre

Photo from the Kansas City Public Library collection
1120-24 McGee St
Kansas City MO

Demolished 1956
Record #10547  
 Opened: 1910
 Closed: 1936
 Demolished: 1956
Architect(s): Lee DeCamp
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:

Information for this tour was contributed by Kansas City Public Library.

The Empress Theater, at the northwest corner of twelfth and McGee streets, with its handsome front and marquee on McGee, was built by the Sullivan and Considine Vaudeville circuit. At the time it was considered on of the most modern vaudeville houses in America.

The $180,000 fireproof building of concrete, steel, marble and tile opened in May, 1910, with three vaudeville and motion picture shows daily, 2:30, 7:30 and 9:30 o’clock.

An electric lighted sign hangs over Twelfth street on 1911 postcard. A motor car and one horse and buggy are parked near the entrance.

Controversy over a movie called “Ecstasy” threatened to close the theater for a time, but the film played on in spite of critics.

With the decline of vaudeville, the theater became a burlesque house. It closed in the fall of 1936 after a proposed 40-week burlesque season lasted only 12 weeks. The building was then converted for use by shops.

The entire structure was razed in 1956 to make way for an 8-level parking garage for the Traders National bank. The basement of the old building was reinforced and is used for bank storage purposes.

Kansas City Star
January 10, 1969

 Images remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

Postcards from the Kansas City Public Library collection.

28 KB 388x249

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Last featured 3/8/2005. Last edited 9/6/2014.

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