Gayety Theatre

246-54 S. High Street,
Columbus, OH 43215

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Built in 1915-16 as the Knickerbocker Theatre, this long-time fixture of downtown Columbus originally featured both vaudeville acts and motion pictures.

The highlight of the theater was its facade, with three arched bays of multi-colored terra cotta, seperated by pillasters topped with realistic-looking lion’s heads.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s, the Knickerbocker Theatre became a burlesque house, and was renamed the Gayety Theatre.

The theatre was closed in 1955, and its auditorium razed in 1960 to make way for a parking lot.

Various businesses operated from the former lobby space and upstairs offices into the 1970’s.

Unfortunately, the remains of the Gayety Theatre was demolished in 1980, along with its still-elegant terra-cotta facade, as part of an urban renewal project.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Broan
Broan on June 24, 2005 at 5:16 pm

Further photos and information are available through a search at http://memory.loc.gov

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 3, 2008 at 8:04 pm

A Wurlitzer theater organ opus 298 style 160 was installed in the Knickerbocker Theater on 3/29/1920.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 24, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Here is a direct link to five photos at the Library of Congress.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 5, 2009 at 2:17 pm

The Gayety is listed in 1955 with 872 seats.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 5, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Looks like this site is now occupied by the City Center parking garage — the only successful part of the massive City Center shopping mall development, soon to be demolished.

Mark_L
Mark_L on April 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Closed as the Knickerbocker, a second run downtown theatre, on 9/15/1946. Reopened as Gayety Burlesk on Friday, November 22, 1946, featuring Mitzie…“Pretty as a Picture and a Frame to Match” in Hello Columbus, also featureing Nadine, Paul West, Bartel & Scott, Zeb and Mandy and the California Sunkist Chorus.

Featured “Painless Prices~~Bring the Ladies, They’ll Scream!”

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