Varsity Theater

19 S. Court Street,
Athens, OH 45701

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dslentz
dslentz on June 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm

The Varsity did become a Taco Bell, then it was totally rehabbed after TB moved out and became a Chipotle in about 2008. To the left of the Varsity in the early 80’s was Mr. Bojangles bar. To the right was an alley, and a Woolworths (which has long since closed).

Across the street was The Athena. Unlike the single screen Varsity, they had taken that larger theater with a balcony and cut it into three screens. The balcony (2nd floor theater) was wide but not very deep (basically the screen was placed just past where the balcony railing ended. The lower part of the auditorium was split down the middle. In the late 1990’s The Athena was near closing when Ohio University purchased it and did a great job updating it (including the marque). It’s owned by O.U. and still operated as a theater. The university still uses it on occasion for events like the Athens Film Festival.

Also built in/near Athens was a multi-screen theater out past the University Mall. Plus Joe Edwards of Nelsonville (owner of the cable system, grocery store, radio stations, etc. in that small town) built a multi-screen theater near his radio stations between Athens and Nelsonville.

dslentz
dslentz on June 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm

The Varsity did become a Taco Bell, then it was totally rehabbed after TB moved out and became a Chipotle in about 2008. To the left of the Varsity in the early 80’s was Mr. Bojangles bar. To the right was an alley, and a Woolworths (which has long since closed).

Across the street was The Athena. Unlike the single screen Varsity, they had taken that larger theater with a balcony and cut it into three screens. The balcony (2nd floor theater) was wide but not very deep (basically the screen was placed just past where the balcony railing ended. The lower part of the auditorium was split down the middle. In the late 1990’s The Athena was near closing when Ohio University purchased it and did a great job updating it (including the marque). It’s owned by O.U. and still operated as a theater. The university still uses it on occasion for events like the Athens Film Festival.

Also built in/near Athens was a multi-screen theater out past the University Mall. Plus Joe Edwards of Nelsonville (owner of the cable system, grocery store, radio stations, etc. in that small town) built a multi-screen theater near his radio stations between Athens and Nelsonville.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on August 10, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Kitch would appear to be correct. The Chipotle building matches the Varsity/Taco Bell pictures, minus the marquee. Good catch.

OUResHouse
OUResHouse on August 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Actually, the Varsity was located in the current Chipotle location. The address is 41 South Court Street. Taco Bell was in the location before Chipotle.

Here is a link to a picture. Notice the brick work above the sign…
View link

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on July 12, 2009 at 10:32 pm

LM, you have too much free time on your hands!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 22, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Boxoffice Magazine of September 24, 1949, included the Varsity in its list of recently opened theaters. The new house had 550 seats, and was being operated by Mike Chikiris.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on September 13, 2008 at 10:45 am

To confirm what I wrote yesterday: yes, this lovely theater had the honor of being turned into the world’s largest Taco Bell. It was already closed when I arrived in town, so I never got the chance to see a movie there.

I have also learned that the Taco Bell closed in 2007. No news on what has moved into the space…

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on September 12, 2008 at 9:55 am

It’s been close to two decades since I collected my diploma and said goodbye to Athens, so I’m having trouble remembering — is this the theater that got turned into the world’s largest Taco Bell?

mikemorano
mikemorano on September 1, 2006 at 3:33 pm

Very cool photo. Thanx

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 1, 2006 at 2:53 pm

There is a small photo of the Varsity on this page:
http://tinyurl.com/r52g9