Ohio Theater

19 Main Street,
Evansville, IN 47708

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 7, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Historic Evansville says that Marble Hall was built in the early 1850s, and before it became the Ohio Theatre it had also operated as a movie house called the Riverside Theatorium. This house was mentioned in the January 14, 1911, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The Riverside Theatorium, although a small house, is known as the house with the ‘Mirror Screen’ and is running first-class independent films. Mr. W. Huddy, the proprietor of the Theatorium, has started to renovate his house, and his plans are to follow the advice of our Construction Page by using somber colors. Mr. Huddy hopes to secure a lease on the next building and, if successful, he will double his seating capacity”
The house was also mentioned in the March 8, 1910, issue of the Goshen Democrat:

“Doorkeepers Pacify Crowd When Department Answers False Alarm.

“Evansville, Ind., March 4—Cool headedness on the part of the doorkeepers prevented a panic in the Riverside Theatorium when the fire department was summoned on a false alarm that the picture machine in the Theatorium had exploded. One hundred persons were in the Theatorium at the time.”

The Historic Evansville page indicates that the Riverside Theatorium was operating in 1909, and that Marble Hall was remodeled into a theater in 1912. I would imagine that the Theatorium originally operated in the original hall, which was most likely upstairs, and that the 1912 remodeling moved it to the ground floor.

The page credits Manson Gilbert as the architect. I don’t think that F. Manson Gilbert was around when the building was built in the 1850s, so he must have been the one who designed the 1912 remodeling. This might also have been when the building lost the third floor that is seen in the earlier photos of it.

kencmcintyre on August 23, 2006 at 12:26 am

Here are some then and now photos: