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Respecting Our History

theatre1We are pleased to announce the recent purchase of the former Capitol and Capri Theater buildings located at the corner of Green and Main Streets in downtown Ottumwa.

“The Foundation feels very strongly that it is time for Ottumwa to begin to control its own future and destiny. The purchase of these beautiful, historic and significant buildings is yet another step in the right direction for downtown Ottumwa” stated Brad Little, President and CEO of the Legacy Foundation. “The purchase also continues to fulfill one of our strategic objectives of revitalizing Ottumwa.”

Re-constructed in 1942 after a fire, the Capitol and Capri (also known as the Ottumwa) Theaters represent and reflect so much of Ottumwa – past and present. Over the decades, the buildings have gone through multiple changes externally and internally as they changed hands with various owners. Both buildings have sat vacant for more than 8 years.

theatre2In the short term, the Legacy Foundation has hired a contractor and work has begun, primarily on the façade, windows and roof. A steering committee has been assembled to advise the Board and staff on potential uses for the theaters. The group has toured similar theaters in Cedar Falls and Burlington that were renovated and are experiencing a renaissance.  The committee has named the project, which we are proud to announce as the River’s Edge Arts and Culture Center.

We know that these buildings have special sentimental value and it seems that everyone has a fun memory to share about time spent in the theaters. We want to hear from you so send us your personal stories and memories at Have an idea about how you would like to see the buildings utilized? Send us that too…we look forward to hearing from you!