Grand Opera House
704 Walnut Street,
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The Warder Grand Opera House, a Romanesque Revival style venue, launched with live entertainment on October 3, 1891. The location was known for two things: 1) live plays and music staged there from 1891 to 1924 and 2) a parking structure from 1927 to 2007. But in 1915, economic realities had set in and the Grand Opera House mixed in motion pictures. And they had a winner with “Birth of a Nation” that October.
The Dubinsky Brothers Circuit operated the theatre in 1920 and still doing a mixture of live stage plays and films but going into rapid descent as the movie palace era was underway. In 1922, Elliott Theatre Enterprise Circuit takes on the Grand Opera House and has plans drawn up by Robert E. Peden & Co. lopping off the tower and converting it to a movie theatre.
But the theatre district was being built elsewhere and the Grand Opera House was dark from 1924 to 1926 when it was finally decided to convert the facility to a parking deck. That operation lasted from 1927 to – technically – 2007 although the public was no longer parking there at the very end. At that time, the decision was made to demolish the building where it is currently a vacant lot.
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