World’s Oldest Cinema

The first flicks presented inside the Pickrell Building, on Main Street Ottawa Kansas were held on the second floor, inside a room the size of a closet.

That was the origin of the Plaza Cinema, and that was back in 1905. Admission was literally standing-room only. There were no seats, as the amazing “moving picture shows” presented were a few minutes long each. On the first floor of the building was a jewelry store and a men’s clothing store.

The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes Plaza Cinema as the “Oldest purpose-built cinema in operation.” It cites 1907 as the year it opened, as that indicates the first record of the theatre in commercial advertising.

The cinema shows went full-size, on the first floor, in 1910. The movie house continued operating. Today Plaza Cinema presents modern-day movies Wednesdays through Sundays — as the oldest continuously operating cinema house in the World!

6 thoughts on “World’s Oldest Cinema”

  1. WOW! I love seeing old buildings being used. They have so much history, and character. I will have to put this on my must see list. Thank you for sharing this info!

  2. The wife and I enjoy going to see new things in Kansas. We are both historians and love hearing about a place like this still exists. Well have to check out the Plaza Cinema.

  3. What a wonderful landmark! It’s terrific that a site like this exists to shine a light on some perhaps little known gems in our state. Old theaters have such charm and wonderful decorations. This would make for a great day trip into an evening dinner date.

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