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From the Herald-Dispatch newspaper (Huntington, WV):
“The Tipton Theater was built by brothers A.B. and S.J. Hyman, who owned the Keith-Albee and other theaters, and named for Cecil Tipton, a long-time business associate. Construction started in 1946, and the theater welcomed its first moviegoers on March 15, 1947. The theater was strikingly modern looking, reflecting what architects call Art Deco design. The plain white mass of white stone on the facade was broken in the center by a huge 80-foot tall tower, topped by the theaterÂ’s name in lights. Inside, seating was provided for an audience of more than 1,000. About 4:30 a.m. Oct. 21, 1950, a fire broke out at the J.C. Penney store in the 800 block of 3rd Avenue. When the alley wall of the Penneys store collapsed, it showered the Tipton’s roof with sparks, setting it ablaze. The flaming roof fell into the theaterÂ’s auditorium, leaving it a charred ruin. The theater was not rebuilt…Thanks to Jim Casto for the information.”
So, the Tipton theater on 4th Avenue survived only three and a half years before it was destroyed by fire.
Here is a wonderful recent photo of auditorium used as a furniture storeroom. It looks relatively intact, minus lower lever seats, definitely looks like it could be restored. The photo is not dated, and doesn’t give a date, hope it will remain on the site a while, after reading the postings about it, I was consumed with curiosity about what it looked like now. Hope you enjoy!
According to an article dated Sept. 6, 2004, the Herald-Dispatch newspaper in Huntington, WV, reports the Tipton Theater opened March 15, 1947, and was “short-lived”, but without paying for the archived article, that was all the information I could find. When I make it to the public library I will find out the date it burned, and any other information.
The Tipton Theater was completely destroyed by fire in 1948 or 1949, and never rebuilt, according to family members that remember it. It stood on the north side of Fourth Avenue and Eighth Street, which has been a parking lot for decades. It was decorated in an art moderne style, and they thought it was recently built when it burned. At the time, many believed the fire suspicious, since the building was new and its destruction so ravaging. From all accounts, it was a lovely place.
Here is a website that has many good recent interior pictures of the Tecumseh along with a few outdoor shots:
The Ohio Theatre in Lima, OH is now for sale for $493,000. Here is a link to the realtor’s website that gives an interesting video tour of the theater in its present incarnation as a nightclub (click on :Home in Motion link):
It looks relatively well preserved, even though some of the paint colors are questionable, but probably suited for a nightclub.