The Plaza Grill and Cinema

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Plaza 1907
The Bijou
The Crystal Plaza
The Plaza
Photo of the theatre's sign—the marquee, "Memorabilia Museum", and vertical "Plaza" section.
Façade in 2018
Address209 S. Main
Ottawa, Kansas
United States
Coordinates38°26′55.2276″N 95°16′6.1854″W / 38.448674333°N 95.268384833°W / 38.448674333; -95.268384833Coordinates: 38°26′55.2276″N 95°16′6.1854″W / 38.448674333°N 95.268384833°W / 38.448674333; -95.268384833
OwnerScott Zaremba
DesignationWorld's oldest purpose-built cinema currently in operation[1]
Current useMovie Theatre
OpenedMay 22, 1907 (112 years ago) (1907-05-22)
Plaza Grill and Cinema

Plaza 1907 (formerly known as The Plaza Grill and Cinema and Crystal Plaza and The Bijou) is located in Ottawa, Kansas and has been named "oldest purpose-built cinema in operation in the world",[1][2] having applied to Guinness World Records in June 2017 and beaten out a theatre in Denmark by two days.[3]

Photo from 1971 NRHP application – theatre far left.

The theatre is part of the Downtown Ottawa Historic District, which was listed June 29, 1972.[4]


A donation of historic photographs were presented to the Franklin County Historical Society in 2013 included photos of the theater from the early 20th century. Newspaper stories published in 1905 describe movies being shown by Fred Beeler in the building now occupied by the Plaza Grill and Cinema. "The newspaper editor apparently was a big movie fan because he wrote many articles about what a wonderful cultural enrichment the movies were and what a fascinating and safe place for children during matinee showings," said Deb Barker, executive director of the Franklin County Historical Society. The Historical Society hopes to market the theater as a tourist destination.[5][better source needed]


  1. ^ a b Ottomanelli, Victoria. "Cinema named world's oldest in operation by Guinness World Records". WCVB. ABC. … named the world's 'oldest purpose-built cinema in operation' by Guinness …
  2. ^ Carter, Doug (27 September 2013). "'Cinemagic' find". Ottawa Herald. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  3. ^ Joy, William (24 March 2018). "Ottawa theater is 'World's Oldest'". The Salina Journal. p. A5. It beat out a theater in Denmark by two days.
  4. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". NPGallery Digital Asset Management System. National Park Service. 29 June 1972. Retrieved 26 March 2018. Ottawa ; E side of S. Main St. from No. 135 to 3rd St.
  5. ^ "Kansas movie theater discovers it is the oldest operating theater in America". Plaza Cinema. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2017.[self-published source]

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