Movie theaters hold a special place in the heart of many Americans. Citizens all over the world have been touched by movie magic. Originally, it was here in America where cinema seemed to soar. In the last few years, with the advancement of convenient home viewing people don’t go out to theaters nearly as often. They would rather opt for streaming movies from their television or laptop while cozily sitting on the couch in their pajamas. We have seen the iconic Drive-In slowly join the list of endangered species. There is a rush of smaller movie houses following behind with boarded up windows and padlocked doors.
However, there is a beacon of light. In the small town of Ottawa, Kansas, you can find the world’s oldest movie theater, currently operating as The Plaza. It’s a strong-hold for the silver screen, in a town of 12,000 people, no less.
History of the Plaza
The Sunflower State welcomed the grand opening of what was originally called The Bijou way back in 1907, even before the Hollywood sign was standing. Now to be clear, this is not the first movie house ever built, not even by a long shot. It is, however, the longest running movie theater. Over the years the facade has changed a few times and the building has even bared a handful of other names. In addition to being called The Bijou, these names included The Yale and The Crystal Theater. The theater, now known as The Plaza, is owned and operated by Rita Madl, but feel free to just call her Peach.
All Thanks to Peach
Even though movie theaters (big and small) are a dying breed, the Plaza keeps hanging on and that is thanks to Peach. Being a visionary and clearly a lover of film as well, she has been hard at work updating the theater to the digital age. Using money out of her own pocket, she works doubly as hard as the curator of the museum within The Plaza walls. This little gem makes this movie house all the more compelling.
It is hard to believe that this Guinness recorder holder actually only won the prestigious title by a hair. There is also an extraordinarily long-running theater in Denmark, a mere two days younger than the landmark Plaza.
Whether you are a lover of the history of film, a geek for movie memorabilia or just have a passion for visiting unique and one-of-a-kind attractions, you should make sure to put The Plaza, ” World’s Oldest Movie Theater”, on your list of places to see. Peach will be happy to see you there.