mission

The Most Stunning Historic Theatres in Ohio

We love seeing historic theatres restored in Ohio to their former glory and once again a proud centerpiece of the community. Can you believe some of these theatres were once threatened with demolition to make way for parking lots? Thanks to the work of preservationists across the state, you can still visit these stunning Ohio historic theatres.

Northwest

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - Ritz Theater in Tiffin

photo via Tiffin Arts

The Ritz Theatre – Tiffin

The Ritz Theatre opened to great fanfare in December of 1928 in downtown Tiffin. The theatre’s design takes elements from the Italian Renaissance, including an artistic interpretation of a Roman villa in the concert hall. The theatre was renovated in 1998, bringing the theatre back to its original charm and elegance.

Today, the theatre offers a variety of performances including live music, classic films, and theatrical pieces. See the current schedule here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Holland Theater Bellefontaine

photo via The Holland Theater

The Holland Theatre – Bellefontaine

The Holland Theatre is one of the more uniquely designed theatres in Ohio. Both inside and out, the theatre transport the visitor to Holland, with classic Flemish design, including a dutch village-scape in the interior. The theatre opened in 1931 as The Schine’s Holland Theatre. While some alterations have occurred over the years, much of the original splendor of the theatre is intact and ready to wow.

With numerous performance throughout the year, you will have plenty of opportunities to visit the theatre. See the current schedule here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Sandusky State Theater

photo via cleveland.com

The Sandusky State Theatre – Sandusky

The Sandusky State Theatre opened in 1938 as The Schine Theatre with a showing of Night Watch. The theatre fell into disrepair in the 1960s, but was extensively renovated in 1990. Theatre hosted a performance of Michael Bolton to celebrate its 75th anniversary. For its centennial anniversary, the Sandusky State Theatre hopes to be completely renovated to its original splendor.

The Sandusky State Theatre offers a wide variety of programming. See their upcoming events here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Pemberville Opera House

photo via The Pemberville Opera House

The Pemberville Opera House – Pemberville

Resting on the second floor of the Pemberville Town Hall, the Pemberville Opera House opened to Jeptha’s Daughter, an adaptation of the Biblical story. The opera house was wildly popular in before WWII, especially after electric lights were added in 1899. Following years of neglect, renovations were started in 1998 to return the opera house to use.

Today, the Pemberville Opera House hosts several productions every year. See their current schedule here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Huber Opera House in Hicksville

photo via Hicksville Chamber of Commerce

The Huber Opera House & Event Center – Hicksville

The Huber Opera House started life as Mackey’s Brick Hotel in downtown Hicksville in 1882. After a fire destroyed the Pettit Opera House, the hotel was converted to an opera house in 1895. The opera house remained the center of community life well into the 1970s, before it became rundown. In 1999, a coalition of community members and businesses purchased the opera house, giving it a new lease on life.

You have plenty of opportunities to visit The Huber Opera House. See their current schedule here.

 

Southwest

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Victoria Theater in Dayton

photo via Cinema Treasures

The Victoria Theatre – Dayton

The Victoria Theatre in Dayton traces its roots to The Turner Opera House, opened in 1866. The Turner only existed a few years before being destroyed in a fire. After the opera house was rebuilt, it underwent a series of name changes: The Music Hall in 1871, The Grand Opera House in 1885, The Victoria Opera House in 1899, and The Victoria Theatre in 1902. After surviving the Flood of 1913, another fire destroyed the building in 1918. After being rebuilt, it became The Victory Theatre. It thrived up into the late 1950s, but was marked for demolition in 1972. The community stepped up to save the theatre and the Victory Theatre Association began renovations in 1976. The theatre was transferred to the Arts Center Association in 1988 and was renamed again, back to The Victoria Theatre.

The Victoria Theatre offers extensive programming throughout the year. You can see their current schedule here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Murphy Theater in Wilmington

photo via The Murphy Theater

The Murphy Theatre – Wilmington

The Murphy Theatre opened in downtown Wilmington in 1918. After operating as a Vaudeville theater, it was leased to Chakeres Theaters in 1929. In 1989, the theatre was purchased by a local group of citizens who sold stock options to save the theatre. Since the great work of these enterprising citizens, the Murphy Theatre continues to operate to this day.

The Murphy Theatre has numerous films and presentations every month. See their current schedule here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio -The Baum Opera House

photo via The Baum Opera House

The Baum Opera House – Miamisburg

The Star City Opera House was constructed by German immigrant Charles Baum in 1884, and quickly became the epicenter of life in Miamisburg. Like many other theaters and opera houses after WWII, it went through a series of name changes and uses, including housing a dinner theater, bowling alley, skating rink, and a few bars. It was slated for demolition in the early 1990s, but was purchased at a Sheriff’s sale. Since then, the Baum Opera House Association has managed the opera house and has fully renovated and restored the space to its former glory.

The Baum Opera House hosts several plays, musicals, and dances throughout the year. See their current schedule here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - Cincinnati Music Hall

photographer unknown

The Cincinnati Music Hall – Cincinnati

Music Hall opened with a performance of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Alceste in 1878. More commonly known as Cincinnati Music Hall, the concert hall is the defining structure of Washington Park in Cincinnati. With the decline of the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood, Music Hall’s future came into doubt. It was listed on the 2006 National Trust for Historic Preservation‘s 11 Most Endangered List. Through a grant from the City of Cincinnati, The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, and the generous donations of thousands of people, Music Hall has recently been renovated and will continue to serenade Cincinnati.

To see the current schedule of events at Music Hall, click here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Majestic Theater in Chillicothe

photo via Chillicothe Visitors Bureau

The Majestic Theatre – Chillicothe

The building that currently houses The Majestic Theatre was built in 1853 as a Masonic Hall. In 1876, the Masons designed an opera house to be built within the Masonic Hall. This opera house became the foundation for The Majestic. In 1904, the Masonic Hall and Opera House were sold, and sold again in 1915. The new owners changed the name of the theater to The Majestic Theatre and it soon became a cinema. After a sale of the building in the 1970s, the structure was renovated, and in 1990, the current non-profit association took control of the theatre.

Today, the theatre still shows films, as well as live performances. You can see the theatre’s full schedule of events here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - Paxton Theater in Bainbridge

photo via Pinterest

Paxton Theatre – Bainbridge

The Paxton Theatre is located on the upper floor of the Paxton Township Hall, opening around 1910. Soon after opening, the space was leased to show motion pictures, continuing under different operators until the early 1950s. In later years it was used as rental and entertainment space. In 1992, it was sold to host the Paint Valley Jamboree, which still takes place in the theatre. The building was recently sold and the current owners plan to make it the center of the community for years to come.

The Paxton Theatre continues to host the Paint Valley Jamboree, as well as numerous other musical guests and Shrek Jr. See all of the Paxton’s events here.

 

Central

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Ohio Theater in Columbus

photo via CAPA

The Ohio Theatre – Columbus

The Spanish Baroque-style Ohio Theatre opened as a Loew’s movie house in 1928. Opening at the end of the silent era of film, the theatre boasted its own orchestra and theater organ. The Ohio remained a cinema until the early 1960s and was threated with demolition by the end of the decade. The citizen-led “Save the Ohio’ campaign raised over $2M in less than a year and the Columbus Association for Performing Arts (CAPA) purchased the theatre. Today, the Ohio Theatre is the crown jewel of Columbus theatres, and hosts The Columbus Symphony Orchestra, BalletMet, The Broadway Series, and more than 100 CAPA events each year.

See CAPAs current schedule here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Midland Theater in Newark

photo via Midland Theater

The Midland Theatre – Newark

Opened in 1928, The Midland Theatre began its life showing Vaudeville shows and silent films. Interestingly, it was only a week later that the theatre premiered its first “talkie”. The theatre quickly transitioned into a full-time cimema, rotating films on a 3-day schedule. After years of decline, the theatre closed after the Blizzard of ’78 killed the boiler in the theatre. In 1992, The Longaberger Company purchased the theatre and renovated it. It entrusted the theatre to The Newark Midland Theatre Association to be stewards to the theatre and to provide quality programming for Newark.

Today, The Midland Theatre shows a variety of performances including live music and musicals. To see the Midland’s schedule, click here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Southern Theater in Columbus

photo via CAPA

The Southern Theatre – Columbus

Just a few blocks south of The Ohio Theatre is another fantastic theater in downtown Columbus. Opened in 1896, the Great Southern Fireproof Hotel and Opera House filled a large gap in theaters in downtown. In the years prior to construction, 5 theaters were lost to fires in just 4 years. Other than being “fireproof”, meaning it was constructed with “fireproof” tile, brick, iron, steel, and concrete, the theatre was one of the first commercial buildings in Columbus to use electric lighting. In 1931, the theatre was converted to a cinema. After years of struggling, the theatre was closed in 1979. In 1982, the Great Southern Hotel was purchased and the owners offered the theatre to CAPA. After a combined effort of state and city funding, as well as donations from numerous donors and businesses, the Southern Theatre reopened in 1998.

See CAPAs current schedule here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio- The Marion Palace Theater

photo via Midwest Meetings

The Marion Palace Theatre – Marion

The Marion Palace opened as a cinema and Vaudeville theater in 1928, premiering with 4 Vaudeville acts and the film, Excess Baggage. The theatre is designed in Spanish Colonial Revival-style, and has several Roman and Greek statues designed by Pietro Caproni. Following several successful years as a cinema and multiple owners, the theatre needed extensive work to maintain its splendor. In the mid-1970s, a group of business owners, dubbed The Palace Guard, started a funding campaign to revitalize the theatre. The Palace Cultural Arts Association has operated the Marion Palace Theatre since then, and continues to provide new and exciting performances for Marion.

The Marion Palace Theatre shows films and live performances several times a month. See their schedule here.

 

photo via CAPA

The Lincoln Theatre – Columbus

Located just to the east of downtown Columbus, in the historic African-American neighborhood of King-Lincoln Bronzeville, is The Lincoln Theatre. Opened in 1928 as The Ogden Theatre, the Egyptian Revival theatre originally was used for Vaudeville performances and musical acts, but quickly transitioned into a cinema. It was renamed The Lincoln Theatre in 1939. Following several hard years, the theatre was closed in the early 1970s. The theatre reopened in 2009, with funding assistance from The City of Columbus and Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits, and was widely seen as a catalytic revitalization project for the neighborhood.

See CAPAs current schedule here.

 

Northeast

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Akron Civic Theater

photo via Akron.com

The Akron Civic Theatre – Akron

In 1919, construction of a new theatre began in downtown Akron called The Hippodrome. In addition to a theatre, there were 30 planned shops inside an arcade. The project went bankrupt before it was complete. Soon after, Marcus Loew purchased the partially constructed Hippodrome and completed the newest Loew’s Theatre in Akron, designed by architect John Eberson. The interior is designed to resemble a Moorish castle, with Mediterranean elements throughout and is only one of a handful of surviving atmospheric theaters. After several ownership changes and nearly becoming a parking lot in the 1960s, the Akron Civic Theatre was extensively renovated in 2001, it reopened to fanfare with a new partnership with The University of Akron.

The Akron Civic Theatre has many live performances each month. See their current schedule here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Brecksville Theater

photo by Heritage Ohio

The Brecksville Theatre – Brecksville

The Old Brecksville Town Hall was built in 1874. In the 1940s, performances by the Brecksville Little Theatre began to be held in the town hall building. Paul Newman, yes, that Paul Newman, directed the comedy, Here Today in 1951 there. In 1975, a second theater group, Theater on the Square was established. Tragically, the old town hall was damaged in a fire in 1976, but was repaired. In 2017, it was announced the two theater groups were merging into The Brecksville Theatre and will continue to perform in the old town hall.

The new Brecksville Theatre has several shows lined up this fall. See the schedule here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Canton Palace Theater

photo via Visit Canton

The Canton Palace Theatre – Canton 

Like The Marion Palace Theatre and The Akron Civic Theatre, The Canton Palace Theatre was designed in a Spanish Colonial Revival style. It is also one of a few surviving atmospheric theatres. The Canton Palace Theatre opened in 1926 as a movie house and Vaudeville theatre. After a period of decline, the theatre closed on its 50th anniversary in 1976 and was soon scheduled for demolition. The Canton Jaycees saved the building and held it in trust until The Canton Palace Theatre Association was formed to operate the theatre. It reopened in 1980 and over $4M in renovations have taken place.

The Canton Palace Theatre continues to show films and have live performances. Their schedule of events can be viewed here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Capitol Theater in Cleveland

photo via Capitol Theater

The Gordon Square Arts District – Cleveland

The Gordon Square Arts District composes three theatres in the Detroit Shoreway: The Capitol Theatre, The Cleveland Public Theatre, and The Near West Theatre.

The Capitol Theatre opened in 1921 as part of the Gordon Square Arcade. As new cinemas arose, the arcade and theatre declined. A parapet collapsed in 1978, damaging both the arcade and Capitol. It was slated for demolition, but the building was saved by the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. The Capitol closed in 1985. It was reopened in 2009 with the help of Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits, and become a catalyst toward neighborhood redevelopment.

The Cleveland Public Theatre was founded in 1981. In 1994-95, The Cleveland Public Theatre moved into two adjoining buildings on Detroit Avenue, including The former Gordon Square Theatre building, one of Cleveland’s oldest standing theatres.

The Near West Theatre sprang to life in 1978, using the third-floor ballroom of the St. Patrick Church Club Building as performance space. The newly constructed Near West Theatre building in The Gordon Square Arts District opened in 2015.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - Lions Lincoln Theater

photo via Lions Lincoln Theater

Lions Lincoln Theatre – Massillon

The Lincoln Theatre opened in 1915 during the silent era of film. It switched ownership several times during its life as a cinema. By the late 1970s, it was closed and waiting to be demolished. The Massillon Lions Club acquired the theatre in 1982, saving it from destruction. After extensive renovations, the Lions Lincoln Theatre was reopened and continues to entertain audiences.

The Lions Lincoln Theatre currently shows classic films and live performances. To see their current schedule, click here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Historic Ohio Theater Loudonville

photo via The Historic Ohio Theater

The Historic Ohio Theatre – Loudonville

The neoclassical Loudonville Municipal Hall and Opera House opened in 1910, with the opera house located at the rear of the building. The first performance at the opera house was The Flaming Arrow. The opera house was renamed The Ohio Theatre in 1931. Renovations of the theatre are ongoing with fundraising for a new lighting system underway.

The Ohio Theatre currently has live performances and movies. View their current line-up here.

 

photo via Playhouse Square

Playhouse Square – Cleveland

Playhouse Square, the “world’s largest theater restoration project,” and the country’s largest performing arts center outside New York City, composes 5 historic theatres: The Allen Theatre, The Hanna Theatre, The Ohio Theatre, The Palace Theatre, and The State Theatre. Playhouse Square draws more than 1 million people annually to its 10 performance spaces while contributing in excess of $43 million in local economic impact every year exclusively from its performing arts activity

The Allen Theatre opened in 1921 as an Italian Renaissance silent movie house. The first film shown at The Allen was The Greatest Love starring Vera Gordon. It continued to show films until it closed in 1968. It was reopened in 1994 and underwent renovations in 1998 and 2011.

The Hanna Theatre opened in 1921 with a performance of Mark Twain’s The Prince and The Pauper. The theatre was designed in French Imperial style. It closed in 1988. It was reopened in 1997 and was fully renovated in 2008.

The Ohio Theatre was designed as an Italian Renaissance theatre. It opened in 1921 with a performance of The Return of Peter Grimm. It closed in 1969 and was reopened in 1982.

The Palace Theatre was opened in 1922 as a French Imperial-styled Vaudeville theatre. It was adapted to show films in 1926. It closed in 1969 and reopened in 1988 as The Connor Palace Theatre.

The State Theatre opened as an Italian Renaissance Loew’s theatre. The first film show was Polly with a Past. The theatre contains 4 murals by James Daugherty and a 320-foot long lobby, one of the longest in the world. The theatre closed in 1969. It was nearly demolished with The Ohio Theatre in 1972, which led to the revival of Playhouse Square. The KeyBank State Theatre reopened in 1984.

To view current events for Playhouse Square, click here.

 

Southeast

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Markay Theater in Jackson

photo via WOUB

The Markay Cultural Arts Center – Jackson

The Markay Theater opened in 1930 with a showing of Playboy of Paris. The Art Deco theatre features 6 prominent panels depicting life in Jackson. It closed in the early 1990s, but reopened with the help of the Southern Hills Arts Council in 1997. An extensive renovation of the theatre took place and a grand reopening of the theatre occurred in 2015.

Currently, the Markay has several live performances and classic films. For a complete list of events, click here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The People's Bank Theater

photo via People’s Bank Theater

Peoples Bank Theatre – Marietta

The Hippodrome Theatre opened in downtown Marietta in 1919 as a Vaudeville theatre and movie house with a showing of the film, Daddy-Long-Legs. In 1949, it was renamed the Colony Cinema. In 1957, it hosted the world premiere of Battle Hymn, starring Rock Hudson. The Colony Cinema had numerous ownership changes and ultimately closed in 1985. The Hippodrome/Colony Theatre Association spent 15 years raising funds for the theatre, including an Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit for the project. Peoples Bank Theatre reopened in 2016 and hosted the State of the State address the same year.

Peoples Bank Theatre hosts live performances and film viewings. View their full line-up here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - Stuart's Opera House

photo via Stuart’s Opera House

Stuart’s Opera House – Nelsonville

Stuart’s Opera House opened in 1879 and was named after George Stuart. It continued operating until 1924, when the local coal economy crashed, bring down the opera house with it.  In 1977, the Hocking Valley Museum of Theatrical History bought the opera house and  began to restore the historic property. Following a fire in 1980, the process of restoring the property was begun anew. The opera house was officially reopened in 1997, after 20 years of hard-fought restoration work.

Stuart’s Opera House offers a variety of live performances to the Nelsonville community. For the current list of events, click here.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - Twin City Opera House

photo via Twin City Opera House

Twin City Opera House – McConnelsville

The Twin City Opera House opened in the late spring of 1892 to Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado”, sharing space in the mammoth building with the McConnelsville town hall. Nearly 20 years after opening, the first silent movies were shown in the opera house, and the first sound system was installed around 1930 using Vitaphone technology. In 1936, the opera house was updated to install sound projectors and renovate the auditorium to accommodate a new projection booth. This was the only time the opera house was closed to the public in its long history.

The Twin City Opera House continues to show films and hosts live performances, including The Ohio Valley Opry. Check full schedule for details of upcoming performances.

 

Best Historic Theatres in Ohio - The Ariel Opera House

photo via Ariel Opera House

The Ariel Opera House – Gallipolis

The Ariel Opera House opened in 1895, just blocks from the Ohio River in downtown Gallipolis. After struggling in the post-WWII era, the opera house closed in the 1960s. Local citizens, led by local professional musician Lora Lynn Snow, banded together in the late 1980s to restore the opera house, and it reopened in 1990, becoming home to The Ohio Valley Symphony. In 2006, the Ariel was rededicated as The Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre, after local resident Ann Carson Dater purchased the opera house and presented it to the community as a permanent home for The Ohio Valley Symphony and for use as a performing arts center.

The Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre continues to be the home of the Ohio Valley Symphony and has theatrical performances as well. See their current events here.

 

 

6,039 total views, 5 views today

Combating Vacant Property Workshop

If you missed the vacant property workshop or you’d like to review the materials, you can find them all below.

 

The Legal Approach to Nuisance Property – Matthew Yourkvitch, esq.

 

The Cost of Vacant Property & Solutions You Can Use – Alison Goebel, Ph.D.

 

Sandusky’s Vacant Property Registry – Sandusky Fire Inspector Stephen Rucker

 

Painesville Vacant Property Registry – Doug Lewis and Cathy Bieterman

 

2,688 total views, no views today