Keith's Theatre

525 Walnut Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

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KEITH'S (COLUMBIA) Theatre; Cincinnati, Ohio.

Located on the corner of 5th Street East and Walnut Street. Originally opened in November 1892 as the Fountain Square Theatre, it was designed by an architect Mr. McLaughlin. It closed in 1899. It was redesigned by architect James M. Wood and reopened as the Columbia Theatre which operated until 1909. It was taken over by B.F. Keith and he employed the recently formed (1907) architectural firm Rapp & Rapp to design or maybe redesign the theatre. It was the firms third theatre project and opened in 1910 as the B.F. Keith Theatre and it operated until 1921.

In 1921 Rapp & Rapp were again asked to design a new theatre and office building on the site which opened in 1921 as Keith’s Theatre.

Keith’s Theatre was closed in August 1965 and the building was demolished to make Fountain Square.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

hanksykes on September 20, 2006 at 1:14 pm

Keith’s Theater Walnut St. Cincinnati,ohio was demolished in the 1960’s to make way for the new Fountain Square developement.Originally built inthe 1880'sit was known as the FOUNTAIN SQUARE THEATER and was located up an alley on Fountain .Sq . In 1909 the theater was renamed Columbia and was gutted and the stage moved toinside fountain square and the entrance was established on Walnut St. for better foottraffic notice. In 1910the Columbia became B>F>KEITH’s and remained KEITH’s until 1921when it was rebuilt as an 18 story office building and theater by Chicago archicts Rapp&Rapp .

hanksykes on September 29, 2006 at 11:48 am

thanks for the Keith’s image Ken.

hanksykes on September 30, 2006 at 11:34 am

Hi Ron Concerning the three theaters located on the B.F.Keiths Walnut St. Cincinnati,Ohio site they were in order the Fountain Square Th. by Architect Mc Laughlin Nov. 1892 till 1899,then The Columbia Th. by Architect J.M.Wood 1899 until 1909, then B.F.Keith’s 1910 until 1921. In 1921 famed Architects Rapp&Rapp of Chicago built Keith’s office building and Keith’s Theater which lasted until 1964 when both were torndown to create our present public space known as Fountain Square.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 1, 2006 at 6:43 am

Thanks, Hank.Sykes, for answering my post of late-Sept. which somehow got deleted when this Page was updated. I wanted further details about Keith’s Theatre being one in the same as the previous Columbia/ Fountain Square theatres, although drastically remodeled and rebuilt.

hanksykes on April 16, 2012 at 11:31 am

Curious thing about the B.F.Keiths Cincinnati venue it never became an R K O house. Twas always and remained an independent house even though it was originally part of a parent Keith/Albee chain as was the Albee Th. here. Even when Radio Keith Orpheum boughtout the local Ike Libson chain in 1930. So from start until 1965 this movie house remained an independent operation.

RSM3853 on July 9, 2015 at 10:39 am

The last first-run film I can find for the Keith’s Theater is the Rock Hudson-Leslie Caron comedy “A Very Special Favor” which opened the week of August 18, 1965 and played for two weeks.

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