Ten years before the outbreak of the Civil War, the Old Red Mill stood on the future site of the New Theatre. The mill was used as a hospital during the Civil War, was damaged by the 1898 cyclone and finally disappeared around 1908. On the back section of the property the George T. Sparks estate built the 1,200 seat New Theatre in 1911. Designed as a Beaux Arts style playhouse by Kansas City architect Carl Boller, modeled after the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City. The lavish interior featuring a proscenium stage was ideal for vaudeville shows and silent movies with orchestral accompaniment. In 1922, retail shops and a long Garrison Avenue entrance were built, nicknamed Peacock Alley, a place to see and be seen. In 1942, the theater was sold to Malco Theaters, Inc., who changed the name and modernized the interior space. The Malco Theater operated until the late 1970s when single screen theaters became passé.