The building changed hands a number of times from 1913 until 1921, when it was purchased by John Palfi, who was destined to be its final owner.
The opera house was barely 30 years old but already had seen better days. Palfi remodeled the interior and installed sound equipment in 1929 as silent films were replaced by "talkies." The Depression hastened its decline and Palfi shuttered the building in 1936.
It reopened for its final run in 1940, when the Schine Theater chain, which also owned the Kent Theater, reopened it as a movie house. Films were shown there until the early 1950s, when the opera house closed for the last time.
Boarded up and decaying, the structure that once was the pride of Kent became a downtown eyesore and pigeon roost. Unlike other landmarks which ultimately were renovated and restored, the opera house was doomed to the wrecking ball. By the time it was razed in July 1963, few mourned its demise.
Nothing remains of "the handsomest building in town," which rose and fell in less than 75 years. The lot where this once grand building stood is now a bank drive up facility.
Roger DiPaolo – Portage Pathways, The Record Courier – 02/06/2000
Below are recently discovered advertisements for silent movies that played at the Opera House. If you would like to know the years these movies played at our Opera House go to IMDb and search for the name of the film. Click for an enlarged view.