528 N. 2nd Street,
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Opened in 1914 as a mixed use vaudeville and movie theatre, the seating capacity was 1,050. It is located in the Jackson Ward district and attracted a mainly African-American audience from the locality.
In the 1930’s and 1940’s it attracted big stars who appeared on the stage, such as Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, Ethel Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Moms Mably and James Brown. It was acquired by the Abe Lichtman circuit in c.1935 and the Hippodrome Theatre was listed as being a ‘Negro’ theatre in Film Daily Yearbooks for many years.
In 1945 the interior was gutted when the building caught fire and the building was extensively re-built in an Art Deco style, designed by architect John J. Zink. It now had a slightly reduced seating capacity of 850, re-opening in 1946 when it became primarily a movie theatre.
The Hippodrome closed in 1967, re-opened again, then closed in 1970 to become a church. It re-opened briefly in 1982 but since then has remained little used and mainly shuttered. Renovation plans were started in November 2009 and the Hippodrome reopened in August 2011 as a live performance venue.
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