Albee Theatre

12 E. 5th Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

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Albee Theatre

At a cost of $4 million, the Albee Theatre was considered Cincinnati’s finest movie palace. Opened on December 24, 1927, this Thomas Lamb palace was named after its builder, E. F. Albee, noted vaudeville theater owner and a relative of famous playwright Edward Albee.

The first movie to be shown in its 3,500-seat auditorium was “Get Your Man!” with Clara Bow starring.

Until 1960, the theater booked stage show acts in addition to showing movies. Another source says the stage shows stopped as early as 1957.

It was torn down in 1977 and a hotel was constructed in its place. Some portions of the theater were saved and are now located in other buildings including Music Hall and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

The facade was one of the saved sections of the building and now sits on the 5th Street side of the Albert B. Sabin Convention Center — about 3 blocks from where the original theater once stood.

Contributed by Ray Martinez, Anna Horton, John Ryan

Recent comments (view all 51 comments)

WayneS on October 19, 2011 at 8:18 am

armleder I saw a number of films at the Albee in the early sixties. Gorgeous wonderful palace of a theater, including “The Music Man” in stereo sound. I attended a couple times with a black friend and have no memory of any racial discrimination.

Trolleyguy on October 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm

when I would visit relatives in Cincinnati as a youngster from Chicago in the 50’s, there was definitely de facto segregation in public places, like movie theaters and the Coney Island amusement park.

No surprises here. In his autobiography, the comedian Dick Gregory wrote about having to sit in the segregated balcony of a Carbondale Illinois movie theater. Illinois and Ohio did not have Jim Crow laws on the books, but they existed in unofficial practice,nonetheless.

hanksykes on December 7, 2012 at 10:33 pm

All 8 of our RKO first run houses downtown escaped the water damage from Ohio’s 1937 flood as they were all above the waters peak by 69 feet.

cincinnaticarol on March 21, 2013 at 10:45 pm

CORRECTION: the above states that “The facade was also later duplicated on the 5th Street side of the Albert B. Sabin Convention Center — about 3 blocks from where the original theater once stood.” My father worked in Urban Renewal and I clearly remember when the Convention Center was built and the Albee town down. The Albee theatre facade was NOT DUPLICATED, it is the ORIGINAL facade that was saved and placed on one of the Convention Center’s entrances. Yes, the Albee facade was saved!!!

hanksykes on February 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Removal of the splendid Albee Theatre on fifth street was Cincinnati’s most stupid theater loss.

rivest266 on May 30, 2015 at 11:28 pm

December 24th, 1927 grand opening ad in photo section

hanksykes on March 11, 2016 at 8:49 pm

That roof sign atop this venue only lasted 3 years until RKO took over!!!

DavidZornig on March 16, 2017 at 9:40 pm

October 1962 marquee photo added courtesy of Rose Taylor. JFK attended the groundbreaking of the Federal Building at 5th & Walnut.

DavidZornig on March 16, 2017 at 9:51 pm

Here is Melissa Kramer’s March 4, 2010 article on the Albee.

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