Wilson Theatre

1043 Wilson Avenue,
Youngstown, OH 44506

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Wilson Theatre

The Wilsonian Theatre was open in 1914. It seated 400 and was still open in the early-1950’s. The building stands unused.

Contributed by Chris1982

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on February 6, 2015 at 10:29 am

The Wilson Theater was still open in the early 1950’s according to the theater pages of the Youngstown Vindicator.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on February 21, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Actially the Wilsonian Theatre was opened in 1914. The big question is, was the Wilsonian and the Wilson one in the same theater?

Chris1982
Chris1982 on February 21, 2015 at 9:00 pm

The Wilson Theatre was listed at 1043 Wilson Avenue, with 400 Seats. So that would have been the opposite side of the street with seating for 100 more patrons.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on March 1, 2015 at 6:20 am

On the theater page of the Vindicator for 1923, there is an ad for a Broadway Theater at the location of the Wilson. Now point of clarification, this section of Wilson Avenue was primarily residential according to Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, which leads me to wonder how the name change came about and when it was changed back to the Wilson Theater. I’ve put a copy of the ad in the photo section for this theater.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on March 1, 2015 at 9:23 pm

Chris, I don’t know how familiar you are with Youngstown, but the area on Wilson Avenue, aside from a couple of small businesses was residential, just as was the case of the Lincoln Theater on Himrod Avenue. Both were East Side neighborhood theaters. Wilson Avenue was and still is a main street that connects Youngstown and Campbell, and have always been mixed use streets with commercial and residential areas. There were two theaters on Wilson Avenue. The Wilson, and another theater on Wilson Avenue and Center Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 9, 2015 at 8:22 pm

A paragraph about the Wilson Avenue Theatre appears in the November 3, 1914, issue of Brick and Clay Record:

“Two Youngstown material concerns, the Youngstown Supply Company and the Youngstown Ice Company, furnished face and hollow-brick for the new Wilson Avenue theater, in that city, and participated in the advertising which marked the opening of the house. The theater is the largest and most up-to-date motion picture house in the city, and the Youngstown papers carried a double page advertisement announcing the opening and featuring the part the various contractors and material men had played in its construction. The two brick concerns had their share of the space, and benefited by the publicity which it afforded.”
Why an outfit called the Youngstown Ice Company was supplying brick I don’t know, but the name was not a typo. It was mentioned in other construction journals of the period. And yes, they also dealt in ice.

The mention of a double-page opening ad for the theater is tantalizing. It must have appeared prior to November 3, but there’s no indication how long before.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 9, 2015 at 8:52 pm

I don’t think this house was ever actually called the Wilson Avenue Theatre. Brick and Clay Record was published in Chicago, and Chicago had a house called the Wilson Avenue Theatre, opened in 1909. Whoever wrote the item probably just added Avenue to the name of the Youngstown house because he was thinking of the Chicago house when he wrote it.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on March 10, 2015 at 3:33 am

Joe, the Youngstown Ice Company started out as an ice dealer, but later became a building supply company that was involved in supplying building material for many of our early buildings. Why they continued to call themself Youngstown Ice Company is anyone’s guess. In my library of historic Youngstown, I have a photo of this business but since it would be off topic here I won’t post it.

As to the Wilson ever being called the Wilson Avenue Theater, none of its newspaper ads had that name. Only the Wilsonian and Wilson Theatre applied.

Saddly, most of the local theaters did not do regular advertizing on a regular basis, and some didn’t run newspaper ads at all, so that we are left with little to go on concerning the early theaters.

I rely on our public library to get information about these early houses, and they do the best they can to help me, but with so little to go on, we’re at a real loss.

Youngstown before about 1935 had two daily newspapers, The Youngstown Vindicator and the Youngstown Telegram, but Google only digitized the Vindicator so we can’t have a second source to rely on when researching local theaters.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on March 10, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Joe: I just came across a Vindicator display ad that did use “Wilson Avenue Theatre”, but in other ads it uses other varient names. It’s the same theater regardless of the name since there were no commercial buildings across the street, and the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps show only the one theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 10, 2015 at 8:38 pm

Have you been able to find the double-page opening ad that the Brick and Clay Record article made reference to? Opening ads sometimes list the name of the architect of the theater.

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