Click image for slideshow



Download an Iowa Site Inventory Form.

Do you have additional information about this theater? Please consider submitting it to the State Historic Preservation Office. Find out how on our About page.

Cambridge Theatre (85-04390)

Also known as: American Legion Post 233, Cambridge Library

222 N Water St
Cambridge IA 50046

History and Architecture

Construction date


Historic function(s)

Recreation and culture/theater/movie theater
Recreation and culture/music facility/opera house

Current function(s)

Social/meeting hall

Evaluation Under National Register Criteria

National Register status

Not listed


This building does not retain integrity from its historic movie theater period. However, as a two-part commercial block it might contribute to a downtown historic district.

This two-story building has fa├žade bays, defined by the upper-story fenestration comprised of four single windows. The first story features a center recessed exterior foyer (now enclosed with wood paneling) on the first floor flanked by storefront windows. A simple projecting brick cornice defines the roofline. A geometric stone motif defines the cornice level and features downward projections between the central windows and at each end. The recessed center exterior entrance foyer (recently infilled) features the historic tin ceiling, side entrance doors, and center movie theater entrance doors. The interior features the following spaces and features: a narrow center interior foyer with historic wainscoting and wood doors flanked by two commercial spaces with non-historic finishes; a rear unfinished space formerly occupied as the movie theater auditorium; the historic ticket booth off of the interior foyer; and a staircase to the second floor social hall.

The Warren family constructed the building circa 1914 for the Cambridge Opera House Company. Paul Swanson operated the theater between 1944 and c1952. In 1945, a pool hall occupied the north commercial space and a restaurant occupied the south commercial space. The City of Cambridge took over the property from Mrs. English in 1952 for unpaid taxes. The American Legion currently owns the building. The historic roll-down theater screen occupies an enclosed attic space on the second floor.