Hippodrome Theater

W. Federal Street,
Youngstown, OH 44503

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Hippodrome Theater

It was the largest theater in the city at the time it opened on February 22, 1915. It was such an event that 18 pages of the Youngstown Vindicator were devoted to it.

Contributed by Joyce

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 3, 2011 at 3:10 am

I got the date of the partial collapse of the Hippodrome building wrong in my previous comment. It was October 26, 1914, not October 6.

There is another photo of the collapse at the Hippodrome in the November, 1914, issue of trade union journal The Bricklayer, Mason and Plasterer. The item quotes a Youngstown Vindicator article of October 27, 1914. The collapse was apparently confined to the arcade portion of the building, and the theater’s auditorium was not affected.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on February 3, 2011 at 3:44 am

Joe: I have a hard copy of the article that ran on 10/29/1914 which is missing in the Google News copy.

“SIX MEN ARE BURIED IN RUINS OF ARCADE WHEN NEW POURED FLOORD CRUMBLE; TOLL OF LIFE IS BELIEVED TO BE THREE”

There was an alley that seperated the theater from the McElroy portion and this was where it happened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 3, 2011 at 5:55 am

I see that the October 27 Vindicator article includes a plan of the main floor of the building, making it much easier to understand the scope of the disaster. It also makes it easier to picture how catastrophic the collapse could have been had it happened not during construction but after the building had been completed and the theater opened. There might have been a large crowd of patrons in the arcade, either exiting from or waiting to enter the theater.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on February 3, 2011 at 7:23 am

It certainly could have been a real disaster.

During the days it was open, it riveled the Park Theater in popularity by bringing in big name shows such as Earl Caroll’s Vanities (sp), but once the Palace opened, folks gravatated to the Palace, and the Hip had to settle for lesser names and movies.

After it finally closed for good, it was completely gutted and turned into a Grayhound Bus station. The arcade portion remained quite busy right up until the building was finally demolished and a parking deck was built for the G. M. McKelvey Department Store.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on February 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Here are some postcard views of the Hippodrome from the West Federal Street side which was the main entrance. The sign with the elephant was the original sign.

View link

Sorry that I don’t have any clear photographs of the views but will try to get some from the library.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on February 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm

For a city the size of Youngstown, it’s amazing how many theaters it had both legitamate, vaudeville, burlesque, and movie. Fred Childress, the former theater editor/critic for the Vindicator ran the following column on some of the old houses including the first theater in the city, and the Princess Theatre known at various times as the Family Theater; Princess Theater; Grand Theater and finally the Esquire Theater.

12/8/1946

Theater History In Youngstown

View link

Sadly, it’s difficult to locate the history of most of the old theaters, and all we have to go on are newspaper ads on the theater pages of the Youngstown Vindicator and the Youngstown Telegram.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 23, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Ron, the stage of the Hippodrome backed up to Commerce Street, but the theater entrance was through an arcade opening on Federal Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 23, 2014 at 10:48 pm

The Dome’s main entrance was three doors west of Hazel, so 204 sounds about right. The Dome also had a secondary entrance from Hazel Street.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on April 24, 2014 at 12:07 am

Gentlemen, first thank you for your interest in Youngstown’s theatrical history. The entrance to the Hippodrome was inside the Hippodrome Arcade, half way between Federal and Commerce Streets. There were numerous stores inside the Arcade so it was like a mini-mall. The Dome Theatre was two doors west of Hazel Street on the North Side of the Street. The Liberty Theatre was nearby, and across the street was the Orpheum Theatre at the site that the State Theatre sat on. As to the Esquire/Family Theatre, it was located on South Champion Street acros the street from the Park Theatre and was also known as the Princess Theatre. This theatre was primarily a vaudeville/burlesque house that alo showed movies. This theatre started its life as the Family Theater, changing to Princess later on and keeping that name till tht early 1930’s when it became known as the Grand Theatre specializing in Burlesque strip tease shows until the late 40’s when burlesque moved over to the Park Theatre and its'name was changed once again to the Esquire Theatre and dropped the live shows. By mid 1950 this small theater was demolished. As to the Park heatre, it would be demolished in the mid 1960’s because of Urban Renewal. The Regent Theater on the lower East end of Federal was also demolished in the mid 1960’s for the same reason.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on April 24, 2014 at 12:41 am

In its day, the Hipp riveled the Park as to the stage shows it brought in, but once the Keath Albee Palace was built, the Hipp couldn’t compete and finally closed and it’s location was turned into the Greyhound Bus Station with the loading area where the stage was once located. The Park Theatre hung on till 1948 when an accident on stage caused severe damage to the flys and ended the theaters as a major live venue and it ended up as a burlesque house. A sad ending for a grand old theater.

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