Cater Opera House

This was the site of the Cater Opera House. Built and opened in 1902, visiting theater companies performed here for one-week stands, with a change of program every night. Around 1910 it converted to a picture-show theater and a balcony was added. With the balcony, the theater had a capacity of 600 persons. In addition to movies and live vaudeville acts, the theater was the scene of many athletic events and important dances.

Walt Disney first saw Peter Pan at the Cater Opera House. A travelling troupe from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri performed the play for Marceline citizens. This was Walt’s first time seeing a live stage performance. The following year, Walt would play the role of Peter Pan in the Park School Play.

After the nearby Uptown Theater opened in 1930, The Cater Opera House stopped showing movies. For the last 25 years of its life, the hall was used for Saturday-night dances.

The Cater Opera House was completely gutted by fire on January 26, 1957. A contemporary news account wrote that it was the worst fire in Marceline history. It also said that the entire city could have burned down if not for the help the Marceline Fire Department received from nearby fire departments.

If you look down the sloping sidewalk on the Howell Street side of the building, you can see some of the original foundation bricks of the Cater Opera House.