Griffith Theater

123 E. Main Street,
La Grange, KY 40031

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Griffith Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Griffith Theater was opened in the 1930’s. It was severely damaged by a fire on January 17, 1970. The facade was saved.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 12, 2018 at 6:29 pm

Here is a quote from this article in the April 14, 2014 issue of the Louisville Courier-Journal:

“Before Oldham 8, there was Griffith Theater — named after D.W. Griffith — a cinema that opened in the 1930s on Main Street in La Grange. It burned down in the 1950s, said Nancy Stearns Theiss, executive director of the Oldham County Historical Society. It was never rebuilt.”
The fire actually took place on January 17, 1960, and a photo of the event was published in the following day’s edition of The Courier-Journal. Ms. Theiss' statement that the theater “burned down” was only a slight exaggeration. An article from 1960 says that the back wall and roof of the theater caved in, but it is clear that most of the facade survived.

Comparing the newspaper photo with Google’s current street view, it can be determined that the Griffith Theatre was at 123 E. Main Street, in a building now occupied by a dress shop called the Couture Closet. Some details of the building facade survived the fire, though a distinctive parapet was removed. Architectural details of the adjacent buildings are also recognizable.

The Griffith Theatre should not be confused with the D.W. Griffith Theatre, opened in 2017 in the local Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum, which shows movies related in some way to Oldham County, including movies directed by Griffith, twice a month. Silent era Director David Wark Griffith was a native of Oldham County.

The Griffith was not the first movie house in La Grange. A house called the Grand Theatre was mentioned in the September 7, 1918, issue of The Moving Picture World.

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