Broadway Theater

816 East Broadway,
Louisville, KY 40204

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Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on August 28, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Wurlitzer installed a pipe organ, their opus 54, a style ‘3’ 2 manuals, 7 ranks and percussions in this hall early in 1915.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 4, 2010 at 4:48 am

The original East Broadway Theatre opened as a movie house in April, 1908, and originally seated 300. It was the third movie theater in Louisville. According to an article about the house in the July 5, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World, the house was rebuilt twice over the next few years, expanding its seating capacity first to 500 and then to 700. During its five years of operation, the theater had not missed a single performance despite the alterations to the building, and despite a fire that had destroyed the stage area.

At the time the article was published, architects Joseph & Joseph were working on the plans for another major remodeling which would more than double the size of the theater. The operators had acquired an additional 15 feet of frontage to expand the existing 30-foot wide building.

This is where it gets a bit tricky. I’ve been unable to find any articles explaining the delay in the project, or why the Broadway as completed in 1915 was considerably smaller than the project as planned in 1913. I’m not even sure the new theater was at exactly the same location as the original, which the magazine gave only as Shelby Street and Broadway (the theater today is much closer to Logan Street, at the other end of the block.) Is the existing Broadway Theatre an entirely new building, or is it the final remodeling of the original East Broadway Theatre? We won’t know until additional information surfaces.

In the meantime, here’s a small photo of the original East Broadway, ca.1913. It looks nothing like its successor.