Reflections: Remembering Dreamland Theatre


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

Ninety two years ago, February 4, 1926, the Dreamland Theatre in Cardington was offering the latest film, “The Huntress,” described as a new kind of western, a First National picture.

Admission was 20 cents for adults and ten cents for children. Of course, this was before “talkies” so it was a silent film, accompanied many times by a piano player in the theatre.

Last week, I described one of seven business buildings left standing after the 1981 tornado, the “Mission Building.” Another was the building that was built in 1900 as the Dreamland Theatre, located on the north side of West Main Street just across the railroad tracks. Aldon Carter owned the building and his son, managed it.

Patronage was popular and included groups from the local school who gave performances from the stage.

It was 1916 when the theatre’s owner decided to show movies on Sunday.

That film was titled “Lesson in Love.” Blue Laws prohibited the showing of movies on Sunday and later, the theatre’s owner was cited by Mayor Frank Aliga and fined $5. Undeterred, the owner continued to show Sunday movies, but bowing to the churches, the theatre didn’t open until later in the day.

Again, he was cited and fined $5. Records show he was fined a third time, but we can only determine he continued to show movies on Sunday,

It was in the 1920s the theatre, then owned by H. W. Oberlander who had purchased it from the original owner, moved “uptown” to the site of the closed “Lyric Theatre” which stood next to the Hotel DeGregory. It continued to be known as the Dreamland Theatre.

The former Dreamland building underwent many changes. It became the site of a gas station and garage. An apartment was remodeled above the business and it was occupied by Zeb and Vinnie Russell, who operated a retail automotive parts business from it for many years.

It was owned by a grandson of Oberlander who sold it to the Russells in 1950. It has had several owners since 1982 offering a variety of businesses including a beauty shop. It has been vacant for several years.

Looking at old photos of the Dreamland with young students standing in a line in front of it following a performance, strikes a chord of “The Good Old Days.”

80 years ago, February, 1938: Officers elected for the year at the Citizens Bank of Cardington were Virgil Peck, president; Cline Sherman, vice president; E. M. Willits, cashier and K. P. Heacock, assistant cashier.

70 years ago, February, 1948: Beginning in February, Cardington Village Council would change its regular meeting night from Friday to Monday Council had met on Fridays for over two decades.

The Fox Hunt for the Cardington community was scheduled for the last day of January and hunters with guns were to meet at the Russell Feed Store at 1 p.m.

60 years ago, February 1958: Charter Night and Court of Honor for the 15 members of Cardington Boy Scout Troop No 30 was held at the log cabin in the park. Howard Van Houten was the scoutmaster.

40 years go, February 1978: At the end of January, 1978, there were 7,025 persons out of a possible 12,000 had registered to vote in Morrow County. This was the first time for voter registration in the county.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

Reach us at

Reach us at