Grand Theatre

511 S. Conkling Street,
Baltimore, MD 21224

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JoeBlatz on October 1, 2017 at 7:05 am

Chris 1982, 3rd Street was the original name of Conkling Street.

JoeBlatz on December 6, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Hello, I was the manager/operator(projectionist) the evening of the last day of the Grand Theater. After the last showing ended. I played Guy Lombardo’s recording of “Auld Lang Syne” as the exit music. All of us employees were told to keep the closing of the theater a secret. But, because I was a relief man. I contacted Jacques Kelly of the Sun newspaper and told him about it. In the meantime, we were told the closing date had been pushed back a week! His column came out and the district manager called us together and asked “Who called the newspaper.” I fessed up and surprisingly, he told me that Mr Durkee liked the news article about us closing. He also said that the theater would stay open an additional week. However, business remained very poor and we only had about 25 people at the last show. On that last night we had people from Channel 13, WJZ TV, filming the events.

I’ll have further to tell about this “GRAND” Old Lady of Baltimore’s cinema world at another time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm

The Grand Theatre at 400 E. Baltimore was opened around 1908 by Pearce & Schenck. Three theaters of the same name all operating at the same time could have been rather confusing, but they probably each drew their patrons primarily from nearby neighborhoods.

Chris1982 on May 4, 2014 at 9:58 pm

There was a Grand Theatre at 400 E. Baltimoree from the teens thru the 1920’s. There was another Grand Theatre on South 3rd in the 1920’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 7, 2008 at 7:33 pm

This scan of a 1950s ad from the Ed Dobbins collection at CinemaTour also shows the address of the Grand as having been 511 S. Conkling Street. I notice that Cinema Treasures currently has it as 508 S, so that needs changing. Put the Grand back on the correct side of the street, guys!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 7, 2008 at 7:18 pm

As the photos show a building not on a corner, an address of 400 would be very unlikely. Also, the old ad on Kilduffs page shows the address as 511 S. Conkling. Baltimore County Public Library’s page must be the one that got it wrong. It’s nice to know that L.A.’s public library isn’t the only one that attaches the wrong information to its photos.

PoodleMom on July 28, 2006 at 9:52 am

Thanks so much for the photos, everyone. I was talking James Bond movies with one of my friends from PA and mentioned that my My Bond consciousness first began when my family saw The Spy Who Loved Me at this huge, gorgeous, old theater called The Grand. Of course, this huge wave of nostalgia for the old theater immediately rushed over me and I began thinking about all of the movies I saw there over the years, like The Incredible Melting Man, Just Before Dawn, Madman, Bugs Bunny Superstar, Scars of Dracula (prob. the first R film I saw w/ my Dad, sister and brother), Zoltan (my mother covered my younger brother’s eyes whenever an actress went topless), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (when it was a $2 theater), Dragonslayer, Yellowbeard, Alone in the Dark, The Pack (with my grandmother because she knew I loved dogs) and Never Say Never. It’s very depressing to know that the theater is gone for good.

teecee on September 14, 2005 at 3:06 am

Photo – notice the library’s banner:
View link

Norm on February 11, 2004 at 1:05 pm

Baltimore is becoming known for the ‘sneaky after-hour demolitions’ of its historic buildings. Demolition of the Grand started between Christmas and new years. As I write this, demolition of the entire block has been completed. With the Grand went several century-old commercial buildings with interesting storefronts. One was a Little Tavern Hamburgers building from the 1930’s. It had an all porcelain enamel sided building and roof. It was still in much of its original condition. What’s next?

Gary on February 2, 2004 at 12:40 am

I was an usher at the Grand from 1971 to 1973, for the princely sum of $1.10/hr. Our projectionist at the time used to run the spotlights for Abbott & Costello when they appeared in East Coast theatres. He told some great stories. I loved exploring the old place, except for the mice that often scurried about. The area under the stage was apparently used as dressing rooms for the vaudeville performers, as makeup tables and chairs remained. There was a basement which you entered through the men’s room. That’s where we’d re-cover the seats that had been slashed by neighborhood vandals. Occasionally on hot summer nights, we’d sit atop the marque on lawn chairs to catch the breeze off the Canton waterfront. Years later, I took my son to see his first movie there. He’s 25 now. Yesterday, I stopped by to see what was left. I’ve been depressed ever since. I retrieved a couple of bricks which will be placed in my garden this spring. If anyone has photos of the theatre over the years, please email me.

PeggyB on January 30, 2004 at 4:51 pm

I worked at the Grand Theater from 1979 through 1983. I met my husband there in 1979 when he was an usher and I was a candy girl. Many of our friends and family members worked at the theater and we all have wonderful memories and strong ties to the building. It is truly a tragedy that this building which holds so many memories for us all has been destroyed.
Peggy B.

pritch217 on January 29, 2004 at 8:38 pm

Maria, lists every theater which exists, or once existed, in the U.S. – old, new, closed, demolished, etc. They aren’t 100% updated, but it’s a really good start – all of the theaters are categorized by State, then by City. They’re also very quick to respond to emails – and they especially appreciate helpful updates from the public. You can find theater names, status and info, and in some cases photos of a lot of these theaters. Good luck!

RogerAK on January 29, 2004 at 5:39 pm

Maria, you didn’t leave your e-mail address. I have some photos of the Newington Theatre just as demolition began, and photos of the Cheshire Cinema (both theatres were in Connecticut) before and after demolition. E-mail me at if you are interested.

Maria on January 28, 2004 at 5:17 pm

Ed, thank you for taking the pictures and for keeping all of us in the loop. The demolition of the Grand Theatre makes me sick. Is there any chance that you could e-mail me high res pictures? I would like to make a short documentary on theaters which have been torn down in the US. The Grand, unfortunately will be featured as it is happening now — in 2004. I can’t believe that people are STILL tearing down theaters. Do you have pictures or know of anyone else who has pictures of other theaters which have been torn down? The pictures can show the theater in its prime or in its last moments. I will make sure to give credit for the pictures. I am also looking for a list showing all of the theaters which have been destroyed in the US. Is there such a thing? Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

EJD1984 on January 22, 2004 at 8:20 am

This week I’ve been leaning a lot of the real story behind the demolition of the Grand. Three years ago when the Enoch Pratt Library announced the new Highlandtown library, they said, “We are going to try and incorporate the Grand into the new library design. This was just to lull the public into thinking the Grand was going to be saved. Then last year the said “Due to the bad condition of the Grand, it can’t be saved and has to come down.” I was one who fell for it. From the pictures I got this past Sunday, 18 2003, you can see it was still in very good condition. This was all a good snow job by both the Library system and the East Baltimore Guide. They never intended to save it! Personally if I had the finances, I build a new Grand in defiance to them!

SalvatoreZannnino on January 14, 2004 at 10:04 pm

The Grand Theater in Highlandtown is a treasure. The exterior facade has been removed and the 1914 faced has been revealed after a half of a century. The southeast Baltimore community is very upset. They were told the the Art Deco Grand Theater amin vault of the building would be intergrated. THe Enoch Pratt Anchor Library was always welcomed into the community. The bulldozer affect will not work in historical Highlandtown. The Pratt, Carla Hayden and Jackie Watts have a major image problem now in that town. They are not to be believed or trusted. It is a tradegy. Grand Theater history can be found in Bob Headley Books EXITS and EXITS 2.

Salvatore V. Zannino

January 15, 2004

Salvatore V. Zannino
257-263 South Conkling Street
Baltimore, Maryland, 21224

William on December 8, 2003 at 11:58 am

The Grand Theatre was part of the F.H. Durkee Enterprises Circuit. Which also operated the Arcade, Ambassador, Belnord, Boulevard, Edgewood, Forest, McHenry, Northway, Garden, Patterson, Red Wing, Senator, State and the Waverly Theatres.

EJD1984 on December 1, 2003 at 12:01 pm

The original plans for the regional library we to include the structure & facade of the Grand Theater. Though two years ago the architects & engineers inspected the theater and found that due to extensive water damage the supporting structure is too far gone (and costly) to be saved. I recently heard from the local merchants association that the marquee, box office, and some internal fixtures are going to be saved for some future use.

The fence around the block went up last week and the demolition is to start today, Dec 01 2003 :–(