The Rodgers TheatrePosted by admin on Mar 21, 2012 in Featured | Comments Off
Today, as a new century settles in, we look back with great appreciation at the unique contribution of this art form and the movie houses that drew millions of Americans into an era unprecedented in American culture.
Poplar Bluff was no exception to this phenomenon. It boasted at least three movie theaters before 1914, and it was in that year that a man named I. W. Rodgers came to this city and bought the Princess, the Lyceum and the Criterion theaters and started an era of entertainment. Later he bought the Jewel Theater and built the Rodgers Theatre. He and his family continued to furnish the movie entertainment in Poplar Bluff for 52 years, until l966 when the Kerasotes Brothers Theaters of Springfield, Ill., bought the company.
Not to be forgotten, however, is the Strand Theater, which also operated here for many years under other management. This theater is remembered by most people as one that showed second rate and risque films.
The Rodgers Theatre, at the corner of Pine and Broadway, still stands as a tribute to this bygone era, the only one of these theaters still standing. This historic building, though only 50 years old, has an outstanding appearance. Its architectural design is Art Moderne/ Deco. It was closed in May of 1998 and its deterioration is evident as it waits for restoration.