Hart Theatre

605 N. Summit Street,
Toledo, OH 43604

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The Hart Theatre was open prior to 1913. It seated 650 and closed in 1927. The site is now a parking garage.

Contributed by Chris1982

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 15, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Richard Abel’s Americanizing the Movies and Movie-Mad Audiences, 1910-1914 mentions the Hart Theatre showing several Éclair features in December, 1912. But the theater might have been open a few years by then. It was owned by the Hart family, and the obituary of Harvey Hart in the October 6, 1946, issue of The Billboard (Google Books scan) said that in 1908 the family had theaters in Toledo, Marion, and Columbus, Ohio. The family moved to California in 1916 and operated a dramatic stock company in Long Beach. From 1926 to 1930, Harvey Hart presented the Hart Players in Pasadena. In later years he was a theater manager, working last for the Edwards circuit.

For some reason, the 1926 and 1927 editions of Film Daily Yearbook list the Hart Theatre at 650 Summit Street, but there are a lot of reminiscences on the Internet that suggest that the house never moved. Most likely 605 was the correct address, and FDY just repeated the wrong address year after year. From 1928 through 1931 it lists 650 Summit as the address of the 650-seat Summit Theatre. The house might have been renamed, but nobody in Toledo seems to remember that. Newspaper articles from years later mentioning the theater always call it the Hart.

One of those articles is a column in the June 9, 1953, issue of The Toledo Blade which features an interview with band leader Ted Lewis. Lewis got his start in show business at the Hart Theatre in the 1910s, and the article devotes a few brief paragraphs to his experience there. Google News has it, but won’t provide a link to the article itself. This link will display an adjacent article. Just scroll across the page to the right to the column headed “Mitch Woodbury Reports” to read it.

The Hart Theatre building was demolished in 1967.

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