In 1925, Topeka businessman E.H. Crosby has a dream: to build Topeka's first deluxe motion picture palace.


On August 16, 1926, that dream became reality with the grand opening of the Jayhawk Theatre, one of the first air-conditioned theatres in Kansas.


Designed by the famed Boller brothers, Carl and Robert, the resulting auditorium was such a success the brothers used it as a model for future theatres.


Topeka's citizens flocked to the Jayhawk for movies, first silent then sound, and the touring vaudeville entertainers as well as local performers.


With the passage of time and the availability of other entertainment options, audiences declined, and in 1976, the theatre closed...


...but the dream would not die. In August, 1993, supporters of the theatre, including the Reverend Richard Taylor, formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation called the Historic Jayhawk Theatre, Inc.


In 1994, Jim Parrish purchased the Crosby Department Store property including the theatre. Shortly thereafter, Jim and Nancy Parrish deeded the theatre as a gift to the nonprofit organization.




The project now encompasses more than the theatre. Directly adjacent is a space called the Gallery. This area, once construction is completed, will serve as the entry point for Jayhawk patrons and will include ticketing and a full range of concessions, including a bar.