Unidentified Theater

Iowa City, IA 52240

(See information below.  This could have been one of these theaters.)
Builder: Barton Organ Co., (no date).
Manuals: 2
Ranks: Unknown
Action: Electro-pneumatic

Notes: In 1920, William Englert passed away at 46 years old. Following his death, business partners A.H. Blank (from Des Moines) and Nate Chapman purchased the theater business in 1921. Chapman, who had been based in Des Moines, had moved to Iowa City just a year earlier when he and Blank purchased the storied Garden Theater cinema, which would later become The Varsity and then The Astro.

The Blank and the Chapman families, through a line of committed descendants, would go on to steward the Englert’s existence for the remainder of the century.

After Nate Chapman died in 1925, his wife Dora continued to own and operate the theater alongside A.H. Blank. Dora’s brother, Al Davis, also assisted with managing the facility. On February 13, 1926, a fire nearly destroyed the Englert. Firemen fought to save the building as the blaze tore through the roof. Dora Chapman was there – as was Etta Englert – and she would later recount the scene to her grandchildren – Nathan, Katherine, and Barbara Chapman.

Despite $125,000 worth of damage to a property that had cost only $60,000 to build 14 years before, the theater’s benefactors restored the building with an eye to the ornate aesthetic tendencies of the 1920s. In particular, significant investment from A.H. Blank made this rebirth possible. From the ashes, the Englert returned to the Iowa City community.

Organ Historical Society as of 20.