Theatres of Louisville, Kentucky

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As with all older American cities, Louisville, Kentucky, has several generations of theatres, spanning from live stage theatres to large ornate downtown theaters to standalone neighborhood theaters to modern multiplexes. A great deal of the older theatres have been razed, or their buildings converted to other purposes.

"Years active" refers to years the building was actively used as a theatre. Due to renumbering and consolidation over the years, the address given may not exactly correspond to the modern building or lot at that location.

NameYears activeAddressNotes
Alamo Theatre1916-c. 1930444 S. Fourth St.Razed. Also called the Ohio (different from the later one on 4th St.)
Aristo Theatre1603 S. Second St.Razed. Also known as The Ritz and The New Ritz
Avenue TheatreRazed
Bard Theatre1941-?2470 Bardstown RoadRazed in 1998. (After closing as a movie theater, the former Bard was converted to a nightclub called Armando's Palace, and then later, after significant remodeling, became a health club that operated on two stories, and included a small pool and indoor track.)
Baxter Avenue Theatre1996-1250 Baxter AveApex Theatres. Located in Mid City Mall. Eight screens.
Baxter Theatre1055 Bardstown Rd.Building still stands, after a brief period as a youth center, part of back auditorium was razed and interior gutted, theatre converted to a restaurant/sports bar. Theatre originally called The Lincoln when first opened. Called The Airway in the 1950s
Bijou211 S. FourthRazed; Also called The Columbia
Bijou104 E. LibertyRazed; Also called The Liberty
Bijou1230 W. WalnutRazed; Also called The Olio and The Victory
Broadway Cinemas1999–20041211 W BroadwayConverted from a Winn-Dixie building into 10-screen complex. It was an effort to bring a theater back to the predominantly black West End, after the last of 6 area theaters, Cinema West, closed in 1975.[1] Broadway Cinemas failed due to slow ticket sales and trouble with its creditors. The building was converted again into retail space.[2]
Broadway Theatre1915–1960816 E. BroadwayClosed. Originally vaudeville, later featured radio performances by a then unknown Gene Autry. Building has been restored, currently retail/showroom space for an office furniture company.
Brown Theatre1925-317 W. BroadwayStopped showing films in 1962. Currently operating as a concert/live performance venue in conjunction with The Kentucky Center.
Buckingham1820–1897223-27 W. JeffersonRazed; Burlesque. Owned by John Henry Whallen.
Bunbury Theatre Company1985-present604 South Third Street/ The Henry Clay BuildingPerforming at The Bunbury Theatre, the company renovated the space in 2007. 144 seat theatre .
Capitol Theatre2129 S. PrestonNeighborhood theatre. Building later converted to retail space.
Carriage House1101 S. Fourth St.
Casino317 S. Fourth St.
Cherokee Blues Club1989-19941589 Bardstown Rd.In the late 1980s it was converted into a nightclub called The Cherokee Blues Club. It was a well-known spot frequented by popular blues artists and hailed as the 'real-deal' for blues clubs. Capacity issues and neighborhood noise complaints led to the club closing in 1994 and re-opened under new management at another location. It should be noted that original spot was never a theater, and the second location occupied the former space of a Louisville legend, 'Tewligan's'. The second spot is now a club called Cahoots. The original location is now a consignment shop.
Cherokee326 W. Market
Cinema West ?-19753312 W. BroadwayLast theater in the West End until the brief Broadway Cinemas from 1999-2004.[1]
Clifton2003-5 Frankfort Ave.
Colonial1801 W. Market
Cozy Theatre ?-19653105 S. Third St.450 seats. Closed in 1965. Razed.[3]
Crescent Theatre1926-?2862 Frankfort AveClosed. Also called The Masonic. Art theatre in the 1960s, became a porn theatre before closing. Building eventually became the Brasserie Deitrich restaurant, which opened in 1988 and closed in May 2003.[4] In 2004 the property was purchased by investors to be turned into condos.[5]
Crescent Air Dome2322 Frankfort AveClosed.
Crown Theatre1215 S. SeventhClosed. Current home of B.C. Plumbing.
Crystal456 S. Fourth St
Crystal314 W. Market
Dixie 44921 Dixie HwyRazed. Currently the site of Factory Card Outlet and Rent-a-Center.
Dixie Dozen Cinemas1993-20136801 Dixie HwyRepublic Theatres. Originally owned by Associated Theatres. 12 screens.
Dixie Drive-In Theatre4915 Dixie Hwy (now K-Mart)Closed. Pleasure Ridge Park area. [1]
Dixie Theater941 S. PrestonClosed. Also called The New Dixie. One of four theatres open to blacks before desegregation.[1]
Downs3423 Taylor BlvdRazed; First called The Aljo
Dreamland1904-?444 W. Market
East Drive-In Theatre1948-?Shelbyville RdAlso called: Drive-In Theatre. Razed. Outdoor.
Gayety1910–1936323 W. Jefferson St.Razed; Burlesque
Globe1880-2010 Portland Ave.Once a Vaudeville Theater, renamed Nelligan Hall in the '30s and adopted as area Democratic Campaign Headquarters and home to the North End Social Club. Artists have recently renovated into an artists' studio/gallery/performance space. - www.NelliganHall.org
Grand Theater607-11 W. Walnut St.Closed. One of four theatres open to blacks before desegregation.[1]
Highland1014-16 Bardstown Rd.Later called Shibboleth Hall
Highland Amusement Co.919 Baxter Ave.Later became the Gem.
Highland Park1924-?4506 Park Blvd.Razed; First called Hi-Land/New Superba. Highland Park
Hilltop Theatre1920-?1757 Frankfort Ave.First theatre in Louisville's east end. Building still stands, currently retail/warehouse space for a novelty company.[6]
Hippodrome1920-?144-146 W. Market St
Hopkins1905-?133 W. Market St.
Ideal Theatre1912-?2315 W. Market St.Razed sometime after 1983. Listed individually on National Register of Historic Places.
J-Town 49601 Taylorsville Rd
Kentucky Theater1921-649-651 S Fourth St.Theater had been recently operating as a live performance/concert venue, with occasional film presentations, but is currently closed. Designed by Louisville firm Joseph & Joseph, original interior included Italian marble and chandeliers from Czechoslovakia.[7]
Kenwood Drive-In1949–20097001 Southside DrClosed Jan 2009 by National Amusements.
Knox Theatre311 W Oak StAlso called the Tower Theatre. Theatre razed, front entrance still stands.
Lakewood Drive-In TheatreHighway 3 & Highway 62Closed
Lincoln TheaterClosed (ALSO SEE: Baxter Theatre 1055 Bardstown Road)
Louisville Science Center IMAX Theatre1988-727 W Main StLocated in the upper floors of the Louisville Science Center
Lyric Theater1926-?604 W. Walnut Street [1]Closed. One of four theatres open to blacks before desegregation.[1] In 2003, proposed to have its name live on as a youth center to be called the Grand Lyric Theatre.[8] Closed by the late 1980s, part of the Walnut Street corridor, a center of a black-owned businesses and entertainment venues.
Macauley's Theatre1873–1925Razed in 1925
Majestic TheatreRazed
Mary Anderson Theatre612 S. 4th StreetClosed in the 1970s. 1405 seats. Named for Mary Anderson. Theatre was gutted in the late 80's and converted into office space. Designed by William J. Dodd and Kenneth McDonald.[9]
Movie City9070 Dixie Hwy
National Theatre (also known as B. F. Keith Theatre)1913–1952500 W. Muhammad Ali BoulevardRazed in 1953
New Superba TheatreRazed
Oak TheatreDixie Highway & Oak StreetRazed
Ohio Theatre1941-655 S. 4th StreetRazed, facade and front entrance still stands, converted to retail space. Art Deco style.[10]
Orpheus TheatreRazed
Oxmoor CinemasOxmoor Mall, 7900 Shelbyville RoadClosed. Multiplex theater consisted of a total of six screens, two larger ones located on the ground floor level and four smaller screens located on the second floor of the Oxmoor Mall.Converted to retail space.
Palace Theatre1928-625 S Fourth StAlso called: Loews, State, United Artists, United Artists Penthouse. Theatre has been restored and now functions as a live concert/performance venue, with occasional film presentations. Facade and interior designed by John Eberson
Parkland TheatreRazed. Parkland neighborhood.
Parkway Drive-In Theatre2702 Millers LnClosed
Pix TheatreRazed
Preston Drive-In Theatre6705 Preston HwyEven though it was still doing very good business it was purchased by the Furrow's Home Improvement chain in the early 1980s and immediately razed. Furrow's closed and the building became a Salvation Army store. The building is currently empty and for sale.
Rex TheatreRazed
Rialto Theater1921–1968616 S.Fourth StRazed in 1969. Designed by the Louisville firm Joseph & Joseph, opened in May 1921. Featured Italian Renaissance style facade and a white marble staircase, seating capacity of 3,500.[7]
Rodeo TheatreRazed
Savoy Theater1890-211 W. Jefferson St.Initially called the Grand Opera House, was Vaudeville, then Burlesque, then film theatre. Building razed following extensive damage resulting from arson in 1989. Was scheduled for demolition and amid Louisville's downtown "porno district" by that point.[11]
Scoop Theatre1910-1940sBuilding still stands, converted to office/retail space in 2000. Originally known as the Walnut Street Theatre, was a vaudeville house until 1930 when it began showing films. Possibly designed by John Eberson. Then known as the Ritz briefly and the Drury Lane Theatre from 1933 to 1940. Acquired its eventual name in the 1940s when it was a popular newsreel theatre. Converted to convention space by James Graham Brown in the early 1950s.[12]
Shelby TheatreRazed
Showcase Cinemas Louisville1965–20043408 Bardstown RdNational Amusements. Closed. 13-screen, A local Christian church had expressed interest in purchasing the site, but the deal fell through. Building was recently demolished. 20-acre (81,000 m2) site.
Showcase Cinemas Stonybrook2745 S Hurstbourne PkyNational Amusements
Skyway Drive-In Theatre3609 Bardstown RdClosed
Southpark Drive-In Theatre9205 National TpkeClosed
Star TheatreRazed
Strand TheatreChestnut St.Razed. Also called: Shubert Theatre.
Sun TheatreRazed
Tinseltown Louisville1997-4400 Towne Center DrCinemark Theatres
Twilite Drive-In Theatre1950-?4015 Crittenden DrRazed. Also called: Twin Drive-In, Twilight Drive-In
Twin Drive-In TheatreClosed
Uptown Theatre1928–19891502 Bardstown RdClosed. Part of The Schuster Building, the theatre's auditorium was razed in 1994 but the former front entrance and lobby area remain as part of the building fronting Bardstown Road. Louisville's first sound theater, also had an orchestra pit. 1000 seats.
Valley Drive-In TheatreDixie Hwy SClosed
Village 8 Theatres4014 Dutchmans LnApex Theatres
Vogue Theatre1939–19983727 Lexington RdClosed. Theatre gutted and converted in 2006 to a retail center called "The Vogue", marquee was restored and is still prominent. As a theater, the Vogue was known in later years for its long run showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Was described by the Courier-Journal as "perhaps the last genuine neighborhood movie house in Louisville" at the time of its closing.[13]
Walden Theatre233 W Broadway
Westend Theatre[14]Razed
Westonian TheatreRazed
Wood's TheatreRazed

[1] The Lyric Theatre was actually at 601 W. Walnut per a 1929 advertisement.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e McDonough, Rock (1999-05-05). "Cinemas may be sign of revival in West End". Courier-Journal. 
  2. ^ Goetz, David (2004-03-21). "Accounts differ on why West End theater failed; owners, bank point fingers". Courier-Journal. 
  3. ^ "Cozy Theatre at cinematreasures.org". Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  4. ^ Robin Garr's Louisville Restaurant Guide / Brasserie Deitrich
  5. ^ Elson, Martha (2004-06-22). "Restaurant to become condos". Courier-Journal. 
  6. ^ Elson, Martha (1995-08-30). "Seeing the Sights". Courier-Journal. 
  7. ^ a b Kramer, Carl (1978). Louisville Survey: Central & South. City of Louisville. p. 109. 
  8. ^ "Group to build $6.5 million community center in Russell area". Courier-Journal. 2003-02-26. 
  9. ^ "William J Dodd: Eclectic Classicism ~Midwest to West Coast Album, Past & Present". Archived from the original on 2007-03-04. Retrieved 2007-04-16. 
  10. ^ Kramer, Carl (1978). Louisville Survey: Central & South. City of Louisville. p. 152. 
  11. ^ Estlick, Stacy (1992-09-12). "Former owner of Old Savoy, Mary Ed Williams, Dies". Courier-Journal. p. 9A. 
  12. ^ Shafer, Sheldon (2000-02-04). "Scoop redo: Back to the future - 1910 building restored as home of high-tech firm". Courier-Journal. p. 1B. 
  13. ^ Shafer, Sheldon (2000-08-26). "Group wants landmark status for Vogue". Courier-Journal. p. 1B. 
  14. ^ http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/20186

See also[edit]