Weller Theater

13 N. 3rd Street,
Zanesville, OH 43701

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Weller Theater Marque

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Opened in 1903, by Samual Weller who also operated the famous Weller Pottery in Zanesville. The stage curtain was designed by Cincinnati artist John Rettig. The theater was used for movies and live performances. Seating was three levels. I found capacity listed as 1,700 and 1,300. In later years the gallery, 3rd level, was not open and probably accounts for the difference in seating.

The theater was last operated by Shea Theaters, who also had the State Theater(aka Quimby Theater, Cinema 1) and Liberty Theater in Zanesville. The theater closed in 1963 and the beautiful Weller Building was demolished.

Contributed by Walter Kussmaul

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

koosmal
koosmal on April 19, 2013 at 2:57 am

Interior and exterior photos added.

koosmal
koosmal on October 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Early postcard photo added. Probably 1900’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm

A 1905 book called Past and Present of the City of Zanesville and Muskingham County, Ohio, by J. Hope Sutor, says that the Weller Theatre was designed by Columbus, Ohio, architect Frederick Elliot in association with local architect Harry C. Meyer. The opening date was April 27, 1903. The opening night featured the operatic musical “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, produced on Broadway in 1902 by F. C. Whitney. The book doesn’t specify, but this was probably the Whitney Opera Company’s own road show version of the production.

The Weller Theatre was decorated by artist Alfred Ronchetti, a recent immigrant from Switzerland who, in 1904, returned to Zanesville to establish himself as the town’s leading decorator.

By 1928, the Weller Theatre was controlled by Caldwell Brown, who also had the Liberty and Grand Theatres. The July 17, 1928, issue of The Film Daily reported that Brown had acquired control of the Imperial Theatres Company, operating the Imperial, Quimby, and Shultz Theatres in Zanesville.

The Shea circuit took over operation of the Weller Theatre in 1933. The announcement of the transfer of the house from the Caldwell Brown circuit to M. A. Shea appeared in the July 28 issue of The Film Daily.

The August 8 issue of The Film Daily ran this announcement about Shea’s plans for the Weller Theatre:

“Zanesville, O. — M. A. Shea, lessee of the Weller, has retained Harry Holbrook, Columbus theatrical architect, to draft remodeling plans for the house, which will open with pictures and vaudeville early in September.”
The April 25, 1941, issue of The Film Daily reported that Shea Theatres, operators of the Weller Theatre, had taken over Zanesville’s other four movie houses: The Quimby, the Imperial, the New Liberty, and the Grand.

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