The Boller Brothers

The Bollers specialized… ideal choice to design the Country Club Plaza’s movie house in 1928.  Like many of the Boller buildings, the Plaza Theater mimicked another, more exotic space, in this case a Spanish country villa.  The Plaza remained a first-run house into the 1990s, when competition from the area’s megaplexes finally shut it down.  The building was converted into a Restoration Hardware store in 1999, although the facade is still largely intact.

The best-preserved of the Bollers’ local theaters is the Granada in Kansas City, Kansas, which opened in 1929.  Currently run by the Imago Dei arts organization, the Granada is one of the country’s few surviving, operational “atmospheric” theaters, also in the Spanish style.  Clouds and stars appear on the ceiling, giving the feel of a courtyard, with lighting effects that turn twilight into nighttime as the show begins.  The building has changed hands frequently over the years, but the majority of its owners (including CinemaKC’s Butch Rigby) have attempted to preserve its architectural integrity.  The Granada was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Carl moved to California in the 1920s, and the firm established regional offices, ultimately building or renovating over a hundred theaters throughout the west and midwest.  Although the company officially dissolved during the Depression, Robert remained active around the Kansas City area.  He was the architect for the Rio in Overland Park, part of the Fine Arts Group and also on the Historic Register.  It opened as the Overland in 1946, the year Carl passed away.  Robert was still working as late as 1953, when he consulted on the remodeling of the Frontier/New Aileen Theater in Worland, Wyoming.  He died in 1962, leaving a remarkable family legacy of elegance and artistry.

Area Boller Brothers theaters still in use as cinemas or arts centers:
Granada (KCK) –
Granada (Lawrence) –
Hollywood (Leavenworth) –
Missouri (St. Joseph) –
Rio (Overland Park) –

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