Capitol Theater

330 West Third Street
Davenport, IA 52803

(See story below of two organs by Moller and Wicks.)
Builder: Wicks Organ Co. Opus 794, 1928
Manuals: 3
Ranks: 12
Action: Wicks Direct Electric®

Notes: The Capitol Theatre opened on December 25, 1920. Builder Henry C. Kahl wanted to provide a 2,500-seat, palace-type theater in his Kahl building complex.

Kahl planned a luxurious movie theater, larger than any in Davenport or Iowa. When opened, the theater boasted grand pianos, gold leaf decoration, and several chandeliers. Its interior was designed by the Chicago firm of Rapp & Rapp.

The original pipe organ was built by the M. P. Moller Pipe Organ Company.

The Moller was replaced by a Wicks pipe organ (for $30,000) and contains 700 pipes. The organ received a $75,000 restoration in 2000, and it is now the only Wicks theater organ that remains in its original home.

In 1925, a 10-story stage house and stage expansion were constructed. The theater joined the Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) circuit in 1927. It discontinued operating as a working movie theater in 1977.

A variety of performers have performed on its stage including vaudeville shows. It hosted the Winter Dance Party in 1959 that included Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens before their deaths five days later in an airplane crash outside of Clear Lake, Iowa.[9] The Capitol currently has a capacity of 2,000 seats, but is no longer in operation.

The Kahl Building's renovation includes the Capitol Theatre whose planned use will be for small concerts, plays, comedians, and movies.

Organ Historical Society as of 2020
Photo by Dave Burke.