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Sadly, Lexington has not done a good job of saving its historic structures. A portion of downtown has been destroyed in recent years, parts of which contained some of our most historic buildings. Many people were against it but that was ignored and they came down anyway. Very sad.
It was a wonderful theatre. Special collections has photos of the marquee. I miss that theatre. Anyone who remembers the theatre wishes it was still there. It was torn down just to build a parking garage, which has been torn down now. It was replaced by one of our new courhouses.
The photograph on this page is several blocks away from where the theatre was located. The early cemetery for Lexington used to be on that site before the graves were moved. A large church is behind the buildings shown. There has been a church on that site since the early 1800’s.
The Lyric Theatre, which was restored and reopened in the last few years after being closed for decades, was the African American Theatre. The Ada Meade, which was considered one of the most beautiful theatres in Lexington, opened as a vaudeville house. It faced Main Street, located on the block between Mill Streets and Broadway. The University of Kentucky Special Collections has a photograph of the facade of the theatre.
When the theatre was being demolished, beautiful murals were discovered and photographed. They were from the time the theatre first opened. Two of the stone lions that adorned the facade of the theatre are now in the lobby of the building built on the site as is a history of the theatre.
The new building is called the Lion Building and is located at 153 East Main Street. Photographs of the exterior can be found at the University of Kentucky Special Collections.
The photo has the location of the Strand Theatre in the wrong location. I spent many Saturdays going to movies at the Kentucky Theatre, The Ben Ali Theatre and The Strand Theatre. The Ben Ali and The Strand were in the same block. Both theatres were on East Main Street, not West Main Street. The only theatre on West Main was The Ada Meade, which was torn down in the 1940’s.