Apollo Becomes Hitching Post
ŠTed Schaar 2016



Hitching Post

The Apollo was renamed Hitching Post near the end of 1946, as evidenced by an ad that appeared in the Gazette on Christmas Eve, 1947.  Sponsored by four small businesses, the ad offered congratulations to the Hitching Post on its "first anniversary."

Gazettes from late 1946 on Newspaper Archive were blurred so the always helpful and friendly information desk staff at the Janesville's Hedburg Library checked microfilm but didn't find any stories or ads about the name change.  Possibly it was promoted economically on the theater's marquee.  Clearly, the new name was an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of westerns at the time.  Few if any of which bore verisimilitude to 1800s America.

Even in this reincarnation the theater couldn't compete with the Beverly, Jeffris, and Myers, just blocks away.  One major problem was the Apollo-Hitching Post's apparent lack of air conditioning.  The final advertisement I found for the theater was in the Gazette on June 17, 1949 and stated simply:  "Closed for the summer.  Watch for new reopening date." 

Hi-Way 26 Outdoor

To the left of the ad was a "Grand Opening" promotion for the Hi-Way 26 Outdoor Theater, which welcomed its first patrons four days later. Probably it and the Mid-City Outdoor, which opened in 1950, represented more competition than the Apollo-Hitching Post could bear. Reviewing movie pages of Gazettes on various dates in October, November, and December of 1949 and on a number of random dates in Gazettes from '50, '51, '52, and '53, I found no evidence the theater re-opened.  Built in 1913, the Apollo-Hitching Post was just 36 years old when its projector was turned off for the last time.

 More Apollo facts

A 1955 story in the Gazette began:  "Long unused, the old Apollo Theater at 306-308 W. Milwaukee St. is being offered for sale"; the canopies that hung over the sidewalk in front of the entrances had been "pulled down" the reporter noted.
170

About seven months later, a front page Gazette opened with: "Purchase of the Apollo Theater building...by the Cullen Realty Co., was announced today..."
171

Other facts about the Apollo surfaced: "The late Joseph Denning was the contractor...and plans were drawn by Hilton & Sandler, who then were Janesville architects";
172  and, "The top floor was a ballroom, said to have one of the finest dance floors in Southern Wisconsin and the scene of many fancy dancing parties in its early years." 173

After renovation, the structure was renamed the Cullen Building, which I vaguely remember; I wish I had known its history when I hurried by.


Apollo Hitching Post closes Janesville Wisconsin 1955
Apollo Theater to become Cullen Building
Apollo Theater to become Cullen Building

Hitching Post Janesville Wisconsin First Anniversary
Click for ad in context on the
 Gazette movies page.

Hitching Post Janesville "closed for summer"
The above makes me think the Apollo-Hitching
Post did not have air conditioning.

Click for ad in context on the
 Gazette movies page.


(Note: Thanks to the information desk at the Hedberg Public Library,
Janesville, for finding and scanning the above images.)
Hiway 26 Grand Open ad
Probably the opening of the Hi-Way 26 Drive-In,
along with competition from the Beverly,
Jeffris, and Myer spelled the end for
the Apollo-Hitching Post.


Apollo becomes Cullen
Apollo-Cullen circa 1980
The Cullen Building, previously the Apollo Theater, circa 1981;
photograph by Lowell Gruver. Courtesy of the Hedberg
Public Library, Janesville, Wisconsin.




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