Nixon Grand Theater

N. Broad Street & W. Montgomery Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19122

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Text from the book “Philadelphia Theaters” by Irvin R. Glazer:–

‘The Grand Opera House-located at Broad and Montgomery, miles from the theatre district-opened in 1888 as the home of the National Opera Company, initiating a brief phase of Philadelphi’s having two opera houses, which would last only until 1892. Designed by George Plowman for the Betz Brewing Company, the Grand Opera House underwent numerous alterations, including those by Thomas Lamb in 1913 and Hoffman Henon in 1923. The large orchestra floor had 40 rows, allowing a capacity from 3,000 to 4,000. Later the Grand Opera House became the Nixon Grand Theater and was one of two major vaudeville houses in the city.

The fourth largest theatre ever erected in Philadelphia, the Grand Opera House maintained its original facade, resembling that of a Betz brewery, throughout its 53-year dutation. Twenty- nine windows fronted the office-building section of the theater. The stage house was 60 feet deep and 150 feet wide, and towered one and a half stories higher than the auditorium section. Interior photographs taken just before demolition show a Moorish design, smothered in fringed and tassled draperies. After several major fires, the building was demolished in 1940.'

Contributed by Lost Memory, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 19, 2007 at 10:38 am

A Kimball theater organ size 3/19 was installed in the Nixon Grand Theater in 1924.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 19, 2007 at 2:09 pm

The Philadelphia Architects and Buildings website has some information on the Grand Opera House/Nixon Grand Theater. They associate the following architects with this building:

Berger, Carl P. (1873-1947) (Architect)

George Plowman & Co. (fl. 1886 – 1894) (Architects)

Hoffman-Henon Co. (Architects)

Lamb, Thomas W. (1871 – 1942) (Architect)

Seating capacity: 3085

Thumbnail photos can be seen here.

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