The Capitol Theater

Main street view

Black and white photograph of Main Street looking north from 5th Avenue, Aberdeen South Dakota. Includes view of Capitol Theater and Northwestern Public Service Company.

Aberdeen is full of beautiful historical buildings, and an excellent example of this is the Capitol Theatre located on Main Street.  Built in 1926 by the Narregang Holding Company for Harry Walker, the man who brought the first motion picture to South Dakota, it sports a 30-foot electric sign bearing the name of the building and polished granite from Cold Spring, Minnesota. As can be seen from this police photograph from the collection, the Capitol Theatre was built to be the “show place of the Dakotas.”

Policemen in front of the Capitol Theater

Officers posing with their patrol cars outside the Capitol Theater in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

The theater opened in January of 1927 with a stage production called The Green Hat and continued to show various films until 1989 when the last movie was shown, and the building was then converted over to theatre.  In 2007, however, movies were brought back to the Capitol building, and today the Capitol Cinema holds various film festivals throughout the year and shows Hollywood and independent films seven nights a week during the time period between December and March. In addition, the Capitol building also houses the Aberdeen Community Theatre, so it is possible for patrons to enjoy live play performances on occasion. More information can be found at the websites listed below.

The Great Lester

Photograph of The Great Lester, blindfolded, exiting the box of a pickup truck in front of the Capitol Theater in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Other useful links:
Aberdeen Community Theatre:
Capitol Cinema:
Browse Aberdeen Area History collections:
Browse Aberdeen Area History items:

One thought on “The Capitol Theater

  1. Thank you for posting the picture of The Great Lester. He was my great grandfather. I grew up with my grandmother telling my sister and I stories of what it was like to travel with him. Few knew she was part of the act. Well, her legs were. If there are any other pictures of his performances in Aberdeen, I’d love copies.

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