The Empress Theater

163 N. College Ave. 

Pic coming soon.

The Orpheum Theater (1908 – 1911)

The Empress Theater (1911 – )

The Orpheum under construction around 1908. (FCMoD Archive, H21719.) 

First mention I can find of the Orpheum Theater in Fort Collins – Fort Collins Courier, June 10, 1908.

The Empress Theater opened in September 1911.

“Edward Adams Cantrell, socialist lecturer, entertained two large audiences Sunday afternoon and evening at the Empress theater. In the afternoon he talked on “What Socialists Want,” and in the evening on “What the Laboratory Teaches Us About the Making and Unmaking of Man.” The evening lecture was along scientific lines and proved very interesting. He spoke of the development of men as compared to the development of animals and plants. He said the socialists want efforts made to develop mankind and that each human being have the opportunity to develop into some useful line and that they be given an opportunity to acqiure something of the world’s goods through profitable labor.” (The Weekly Courier, May 10, 1912)

Max Kohn was one of the managers at the theater. (The Weekly Courier, May 17, 1912)

“WILL SHOW FAMOUS RELIGIOUS PICTURE From the Manger to the Cross, Auspices Catholic Church, Empress Sunday Night.
“From the Manger to the Cross,” one of the most powerful religious pictures ever produced, will be shown under the auspices of St. Joseph’s Catholic church, at the Empress theater Sunday afternoon and evening. This is one of the most wonderful religious pictures ever attempted since the moving picture art became of so much importance. It is a reverent moving-picture story of the life of Christ and was produced on authentic locations in Palestine and Egypt. There are five reels, making 5,000 feet in all, and they have been securing the widest commendation all over the country, especially from the clergy, wno pronounce them one of the greatest religious lectures ever created. Rev. Father La Jeunesse secured the pictures only after a heavy outlay and following the urgent request of a number of persons who had seen them and who were anxious to have them shown In Fort Collins. On account of this expense an admission charge will be made to cover the cost of bringing the pictures here. The afternoon hour for showing the pictures will be 3 o’clock and in the evening they will be shown at 8:15. One of the most forcible endorsements of the hundreds which have been given the pictures is from the mayor of Jerusalem, Palestine, who testifies as to their authenticity and trueness to detail. Rev. Father Wm. O’Ryan, the noted Denver clergyman, has given the pictures his hearty endorsement. In addition to the pictures, the audience will be entertained with special sacred music rendered by Runge’s Empress orchestra, and with music by the choir of St. Joseph’s church.” (The Weekly Courier, September 12, 1913)


The Rocky Mountain Collegian – CSU Fort Collins, Volume 21, Number 2, September 20, 1911

“Able Speakers Will Discuss 1914 Beet Contracts from Farmers Standpoint on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 1:30 P. M. A mass meeting has ben called for Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p. m. February 17, at the Empress theater in this city for the purpose of discussing the 1914 beet contracts. There has been considerable discussion on this question since the sugar company announced a cut in the price to be paid this year. Some localities have taken action and others have avoided it. At a recent meeting in Loveland it was decided to support the new contracts. The mass meeting was decided upon today at a conference of the officials of the Farmers Union, Local No. 209. This afternoon Chas.
“Wetzler and R. Q. Tenney, officials of the union, announced the mass meeting for the time and place stated above. They stated that the meeting is open to everybody. They invite all farmers in this vicinity or other localities and the business men as well to attend the meeting. The Empress is large enough to accommodate men for miles around. Able speakers have been secured who will present the farmers side of beet raising. The arguments they will present have not been outlined as yet but there will be a wide discussion touching every point of the beet raising and the new contracts offered by the sugar company.” (The Weekly Courier, February 13, 1914)


Arrangements were completed today by County Chairman Aylseworth for a big republican meeting to be held in the Empress theater Monday evening, November 2, the night before the election, at which George Carlson will be the only speaker. This will be Mr. Carlson’s oly appearance in his home city during the campaign. The meeting will be held at 9 o’clock, immediately after the first regular picture show at the Empress, the management having agreed to dispense with their their second show. Mr. Carlson’s address will last but 35 minutes and all are urged to be prompt in order that there be no delay in starting he proceedings. The republican quartet will help entertain the crowd.” (The Weekly Courier, October 30, 1914)

“A deal which has been pending for several days was consummated today when Geo. K. Thompson sold his interest in the management of the Empress theater to H. F. Beiers. The deal was closed this afternoon and Mr. Beiers assumes absolute charge of the theater. He also assumes all of the obligations and accounts due the theater. Mr. Beiers expects to keep up the high standard which has been maintained at the Empress and is already arranging for an improvement in the line of films which he expects to feature. Mr. Thompson has not yet decided what he will do. He has a number of matters in view but for the time being will look after some private interests.” (The Weekly Courier, January 29, 1915)

“RAG TAG AND BOB TAILS PARADE THE STREETS The “Rag Tag and Bob Tails,” who are putting on the minstrel show tonight at the Empress theater, paraded the streets this afternoon with their instruments, and serenaded a goodly number of business houses. The Courier acknowledges the honor of a visit and of being regaled with musical selections. The boys are out for a gay time tonight and you bet they are going to have it. About twenty members of the Loveland band are coming here tonight to be the guests of the Fort Collins band at the minstrel show.” (The Weekly Courier, February 5, 1915)

Long description of a Minstrel Show held at the theater that included black face. (The Weekly Courier, February 5, 1915)