History of Isis Theatre in Winamac, IN
It is not certain, but in 1910 or 1911, Mr. I. D. Howard opened the Palace Theatre on North Market where Key Bank now sits. A short time later, he moved it down the street to the second floor of the Yarnell Building where the parsonage of the First Christian Church is now.
In August of 1913, The Palace Theatre announced it was moving again. The Odd Fellows Building would be the theatre's new home. The theatre would get a new location, "extensive renovations," and a new name.
The Pulaski County newspapers announced in the September 4 editions that Mrs. J. B. Moon won the "name guessing" contest. Isis was the new name and Mrs. Moon won a "signet ring."
Mr. Howard sold the Isis to Charles Wolfe in 1921. Mr. Wolfe ran the theatre through most of the "Roaring 20's," selling the theatre to Verne and Mae Chapman Gorrell in 1929.
"Broadway Melody" was the first talking movie to come to Winamac with a special mystery showing for the Kiwanis Club in early July 1929. The name of the movie was not revealed to them.
The Gorrells moved the Isis to its current location on the corner of Pearl and Monticello streets October 1, 1936. "Ramona" was the grand re-opening movie. The Isis Theatre has been continuously running in the same location since October 1, 1936.
Almost 20 years later, in 1953, the Gorrells leased the Isis to Richard Norton.
Bill Doty began working for the Gorrels as a teenager in high school. In 1958 they sold him the Isis and for the next 40 years, Bill entertained the public.
Ernie Armstrong followed in Bill's footsteps. He began working for Bill as a teenager in high school and October 1, 1999, Bill sold the Isis to Ernie. The Isis had been Ernie's stomping grounds since April 30, 1977.
Sadly on November 9, 2019 Ernie unexpectedly passed away. While this was a big blow to us all, his son Zach stepped into his Dad's shoes and is the current owner and operator of the Isis Theater.
With all the upgrades (Dolby Digital Sound, digital projection) keeping the Isis current with new technology, it looks like our family friendly and family owned home-town theatre will live on for many more years to come.
See You At The Movies!