The Co-Ed Theater

The Co-Ed, the first theater in Topeka in the residential areas and not located in business areas, operated in that location from 1937 to 1955, but it wasn’t the first occupant of a building at that address. The location first served as the home of Topeka Fire Station No. 5 from 1926 to 1931.  Mr. and Mrs. Simon Galitzki purchased the station when the city abandoned it, according to a history of College Hill published in 1962 by the Shawnee County Historical Society as its 39th Bulletin.  The history of College Hill was written by Hermione van Laer Adams, who attended Topeka public schools and graduated from Washburn University in 1912. She taught in Topeka schools, and in 1920, she married Paul Adams, a member of another pioneer family of Shawnee County.  They lived in Mexico and Venezuela for 25 years, where he was connected with the oil business. They retired in 1945.  The Galitzki couple planned the theater to cater to the family trade, according to the Bulletin.  “The interior of the building was attractively decorated and arranged and the seats comfortable,” according to the story. “The seating was divided into three sections separated by two carpeted aisles and had a capacity of 600 people .”  Doors of the theater opened on Oct. 16, 1937, for a showing of “Cafe Metropole” starring Loretta Young, Tyrone Power and Adolphe Menjou; a short, “Love Nest on Wheels,” starring Buster Keaton; and a color cartoon, “Circus Days.”  Shows were offered at 7 and 9 p.m. with matinees Saturday and Sunday.  Patronage at the Co-Ed began falling off, and the decision was made to close it, according to the society’s story.  The City Recreation Commission next took a three-year lease on the building, where it offered recreational activities.  C.E. Sandeffer was the next person to lease the building, and it was the home of an auction house for a long time.  Some of the other occupants of the former theater were Jack Simon’s Barber Shop, Johnson Music Mart, State Farm Insurance Co., Marjie’s Bakery and Roto-Rooter Sewer Service.  Latta Whitlow was the final occupant of the property.

The Co-Ed building was razed as part of the College Hill Restoration Project.

Topeka Capital-Journal, The (KS) – Sunday, December 3, 2006