Gloria Theatre

216 S. Main Street,
Urbana, OH 43078

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 14, 2018 at 6:30 pm

The April 20, 1907, issue of the Chicago financial journal The Economist had this item:

“George 0. Garnsey has completed plans and will take figures for a three-story addition, 43x90, to the front of a theater in Urbana, Ohio, for the Clifford Amusement Company. The first floor will contain the main entrance, a store and restaurant, and the upper floors will contain an armory. It will cost $25,000.”
As George Otis Garnsey (1840-1923) was a fairly well-known theater architect (some forty theaters and opera houses, mostly in smaller midwestern cities), it’s possible that he also designed the Clifford Theatre as it was originally built in 1905.

Trolleyguy on April 18, 2016 at 10:07 pm

Website: No movies listed, still a work in progress.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on March 7, 2016 at 2:03 am

Just uploaded some new pictures. I was passing through town.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 19, 2016 at 6:02 pm

GrandWorks Foundation has brought the name Gloria Theatre back to this house. A renovation project is ongoing. The venue is to be operated as a “…multi-purpose entertainment, business and community center….” Here is their web site.

The December 23, 1968, issue of Boxoffice has a brief notice about the two-screen Urbana Cinema, slated to be opened by Chakeres Theatres on Christmas Day. The opening would also mark the 27th anniversary of the opening of the house as the Gloria Theatre, on Christmas Day 1941.

An earlier Boxoffice item, from July 11, 1966, said that Chakeres Theatres had bought the Gloria, which the chain had operated under a lease for the previous twenty-five years, from Warren Grimes.

Reed A Embrey
Reed A Embrey on February 19, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Gloria is re-opened since Oct. 2015. Opened with Ghostbusters! Grand works foundation, Urbana Methodist Church, & citizens have contributed to bringing back this now only in Champaign county gem! A large army of volunteers have been replairing & replacing the curtains, projection, stage and screen. Live venues too have been booked….

graceways on August 8, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Facebook page: Remembering the Urbana Cinema / Gloria Theatre

Facebook page of the nonprofit group working to restore the theatre:

rivest266 on January 26, 2014 at 9:54 pm

This is now closed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 2, 2013 at 1:35 am

The article RidgewoodKen linked to says that the theater was built “…in the early 1900s….” and notes that local resident John Carmazzi remembers going to the theater in 1939, the year before Warren Grimes bought the house and renamed it after his daughter.

Another article about the closing of the Urbana Cinema notes its connection to the Clifford Theatre, saying this: “In September of 1940, Urbana aviation lighting pioneer and industrialist Warren Grimes bought the building and tore out the decayed parts, remodeling the old structure into a premier motion picture house for Champaign countians.”

Mr. Carmazzi’s memory indicates that the Clifford Theatre was still operating (though he doesn’t mention the name) in the late 1930s. As I noted earlier, it’s pretty clear from the look of the building that it incorporates at least the side walls of the Clifford Theatre, built in 1905.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 15, 2012 at 2:10 am

The side walls of the Urbana Cinema look much older than its 1941 build date. A number of sources indicate that the Gloria Theatre was on the site of an earlier house called the Clifford Theatre, which burned. A couple of sources say that the Gloria was rebuilt from the Clifford.

Judging from the apparent age of the side walls, at least parts of the Clifford must have survived the fire to be incorporated in the new structure, though the Clifford was a larger theater than the Gloria. The Cahn guide of 1910 said that the house seated 1,200, and its stage was 35 feet from footlights to back wall and 80 feet between its side walls. The proscenium was 40 feet wide and 30 feet high. The modern theater doesn’t appear to have a stage house at all.

This web page has a photo of the historical marker commemorating the Clifford Theatre. I’ve been unable to find any period photos of the outside of the Clifford Theatre, which opened in 1905, but a 1911 picture of the auditorium appears on page 2 of the May, 2008, issue of the Champaign County Historical Society’s newsletter, available in PDF format at this link.

MiamiMan on September 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm

a view of the Gloria as it appeared at its opening on Christmas day 1941.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 16, 2010 at 1:32 am

really what I meant was new Marquee letters.

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on August 15, 2010 at 6:19 pm

According to Philip Chakeres, President, the theatre is closed while some exterior repairs are being undertaken, new seats are being installed, etc.

soybean on August 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm

According to the Chakeres Theaters website, this theater is closed.

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on August 15, 2010 at 7:07 am

Thanks Chuck!
I’ll see if I can locate a night shot.

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on August 15, 2010 at 4:30 am

Well actually the marquee looks better (pretty cool actually) in person.
What to me is amazing is that a comparatively small town like Urbana, Ohio still has an operating movie theatre. The Urbana Twin has a very classy lobby with crystal chandeliers. I still like driving through a small town and find an OPEN theatre that is still close to the way it was in past years. If the predictions of people like Mark Lipsky (CT news item for Saturday 8/14/10) are correct, in short order there won’t be many theatres for us to see anywhere except our memories.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 15, 2010 at 2:09 am

Pity they couldn’t invest in new marquee.Looks like a Drive-in.

SRCputt on January 10, 2005 at 2:15 am

In late 2004 Chakeres started playing first run films at Urbana (and Kettering) again.

FoxTheatres on December 20, 2002 at 5:15 pm

The Gloria is owned by Chakeres Theatres a Springfield,Ohio theatre chain.The Gloria is now a sub-run movie house known as Urbana Twin Cinemas.