North Kansas City, MO

The Armour Theatre Building in North Kansas City, Missouri was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008

CJ Coombs
Armour Theatre Building.Ovivas, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Armour Theatre Building (aka Screenland Armour) is historic and fits in nicely with the business district of North Kansas City, Missouri. In 1928, the prominent Kansas City architectural firm, Keene & Simpson, designed this structure. It's a two-story brick building that includes a Spanish Eclectic style design. It has a Mission tile roof with glazed terra cotta detailing. There are also community rooms and offices inside. In 2008, this building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Over the years, it has changed names, closed, and reopened. In 2008, it reopened as Screenland Armour after being restored. Adam Roberts, co-owner/operator, and his brother-in-law and business partner, Brent Miller, run Screenland Armour.

On the day after Christmas in 1926, it was announced that a clubhouse and theatre were going to be built in the community. The owner of the project was listed as Mr. N. M. Fitch. From his sketch to the architectural firm's plans, ground was broken in November 1927. The construction of the theatre occurred during a building campaign that was associated with the development of North Kansas City.

The opening night movie on September 6, 1928, was a movie titled Warming Up that starred a popular silent screen star, Richard Dix. Soon the silent films were being replaced with talking pictures. The theatre had 650 seats.

In 1963, Commonwealth Theaters Corp. took over management of the building and it was renamed the Centre Theatre.

In 1984 it operated as a live theatre, known as the Paradise Theatre. It was renovated and reopened in February 2008 by the independent Screenland chain. Now seating 300 station seats, with a selection of red leather loungers. The Screenland Armour now serves food and drinks with the movies. (Source.)

The theatre expanded in 2018 into the building next door which enlarged its lobby and added two more screens.

During the effects of the pandemic in 2020, the theatre decided to show movies outside in a parking lot behind the building. The first outdoor movie was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A perfect movie for an imperfect situation but like other businesses, they had to be creative to bring in revenue.

The Armour Theatre Building operating today as Screenland Armour is 94 years old. The historic significance of the theatre rests in its features. It just might last another 94 years.

The Armour may be the oldest continually operating theatre in suburban Kansas City. (Source.)

Thank you for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author; 30 years of legal secretarial experience; BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. Thinker, giver, and lover of life. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, truth, non-fiction, reading, history, and travel.

Kansas City, MO

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