Created By: Nappanee Public Library
The Fairy Theater opened on August 9, 1926. They started work on the building on North Main Street in April of 1926. The building was done by Mr. Ed Wisler.
The original plans for the theater were a brick veneer, one story high with a 19-foot ceiling. The main floor was supposed to have seating for 350, while the balcony on the east end of the building would seat 75. Two boxes on either end of the balcony would seat 5 each, making the seating capacity 435. The lobby was to be patterned after the movie theaters of the time. The floor would have been tiled and the stairways would lead from the lobby to the balcony on either side, as well as to the basement, where there would be restrooms for both ladies and gentlemen. Brass railings would be used in the lobby as well as on the stairways. A canopy would be built over the sidewalk.
When the theater opened later that year it was a bit different than first described: fireproof construction and seating for 400 people. The front was one of the latest theatre designs for that time period and it was equipped with a canopy extended to the edge of the sidewalk. The ticket office was in the lobby and the stairway lead to the balcony and the bathrooms in the basement. The balcony sat 42. Seats throughout the house were of the latest folding theater pattern and were upholstered in leather. Special attention was given to the lighting and the ventilation systems and a comfortable temperature were to be maintained at all times. Dressing rooms for vaudeville entertainers or other productions were provided under the stage. A curtain of beautiful design with advertisements of local businesses around the border gave the stage a fine appearance.
Guy Loudermilk moved from Knox to Nappanee and ran the Fairy Theater from 1926 to 1936. He sold his interests to Walter Kohlhorst. Kohlhorst moved from Lima, Ohio to Nappanee after running a movie house there. Prior to that, he ran a movie house in Kansas. He maintained the same rules and staff as Mr. Loudermilk. Kohlhorst continued to run the Fairy Theater after he moved back to Lima, Ohio in 1950. He sold the theater to Howard Pontious six months before his death.
Gone with the Wind played at the Fairy Theater on April 18-19, 1941. The price for a ticket was 55 cents.
In 1932, there was a Bread Wrapper night. One person would be admitted by ten bread wrappers if accompanied by a paid admission. The plan proved to be popular and some abused the privilege, so it was canceled.
The Fairy Theater, now the Nappanee Theater, is still providing entertainment today.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Nappanee History Scavenger Hunt