Columbia Music Arena
825 Gallia Street,
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Opened in 1910 as the Columbia Theatre with 300 seats, it was the only remaining theater in downtown Portsmouth. The Columbia Theatre’s stage house and auditorium was expanded in the 1920’s to accommodate 1,100 seats, with vaudeville and stage productions. It received sound equipment in 1929 when architect Victor A. Rigaumont carried out some alterations to the auditorium. By 1941 it was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.
The Columbia Theatre closed in the 1980’s and sat empty for many years until an entrepreneur engaged in a 2 million + dollar renovation and reopened the venue as the Columbia Music Hall in 2006. Many concerts were held at the hall after reopening.
Unfortunately, it was extensively damaged in a fire in November 11, 2007, in which the rear of the roof collapsed, and substantial parts of the interior were gutted. One good sign – their web page said concerts are only “temporarily” suspended — the owner has vowed to rebuild! Unfortunately, this did not happen and the auditorium was demolished in May 2008, leaving only the facade and lobby.
A new auditorium was built, and reopened in April 2012 as the Columbia Music Arena.
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