21 East Main Street,
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The great Southern Theatre is the only remaining 19th Century theater in Columbus. It opened on September 21, 1896 after close to three years of planning and construction (the adjoining Southern Hotel opened the following summer). It boasts the architectural influence of 19th Century geniuses Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler. It was constructed of “fireproof” brick, tile, iron, concrete and steel (since most other theaters in the downtown had been previously destroyed by fire). Being a very modern structure, it was one of the first commercial buildings in Columbus to have electricity (which it produced itself).
In the early-1910’s, a section of the upper balcony was removed to install a projection booth. It was used as a live performance and movie theater until 1931 when it became a full-time movie house. It stayed open until 1979 when years of neglect forced its closing.
The movement to restore the Ohio Theatre 30 years ago helped the Southern Theatre receive public support for its own restoration. After over a year of restoration, it reopened its doors on September 26, 1998 and now hosts a variety of performances.
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