The Campustown business street in 1941. The Ames Theater opened in 1919 as the American Theater. Acquired in 1920 by Joe Gerbrach who changed the name to the Ames Theater. Joe also changed his own last name dropping the final "t" in Gerbracht and becoming Joseph V. Gerbrach. To the east of the Ames Theater is the Varsity Theater, built by Gerbrach in 1938.The Varsity is still in operation as a theater (1999).