Historic Theatres Across America

Most of the historic theatres in America were built at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century.

The post-war boom saw increasing urbanization and industrialization, with people having time and money to spend on entertainment like dance halls and theatres.

With Vaudeville on the decline, movies became one of the most prominent forms of entertainment, prompting the construction of theatres across the country.

There are far too many historic theatres to give them all a fair mention, so we have selected some of the oldest and most notable.

With most of the historic theatres converting to movie theatres over the years, you are far more likely to come across a sports betting venue than an active theatre.

18th  and 19th Century Theatres

The Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina 

Hosted its first performance in 1736. This building was the first in America built specifically for theatre, 

The Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniap

Founded in 1809, ippt is America’s oldest active theatre.

 The Croswell Opera House in Adrian, Michigan 

Built in 1866, it remains Michigan’s oldest continuously operating theatre and one of the country’s oldest.

20th Century Theatres

This was a time when nearly every state built a new theatre.

The Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, Illinoisp p

It was opened in 1929. It is one of only five left from over one hundred built in this style in the 1930s, inspired by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922. This is the only one remaining east of the Rockies. 

Graumann’s Egyptian Theatre

 Opened in 1922 in Hollywood, CA, its claim to fame is that the first Hollywood film premiere showed here.

The Belasco Theatre in Manhattan, New York 

It was created as a Broadway theatre in 1907. It is one of the few remaining dedicated to theatre, releasing a new product almost every year. It was first used for film in 2019.

The Grand Opera House in Macon, Georgiap

Built in 1884 and seating 2418, it had the largest stage at the time. Trapdoors were installed for Houdini, who was a regular player. In 1936 it was adapted for movies as the popularity of Vaudeville had waned. 

The Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, Louisianap

It opened in  1927 in the French Quarter. Originally with four thousand seats, it is one of the larger theatres.

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