Drexel North Theatre

4250 North High Street,
Columbus, OH 43214

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Drexel North Theatre

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The Drexel North Theatre was an 800 seat single screen theatre. It opened in 1941 as the Beechwold Theatre, was remodeled to become the Camelot North Theatre in 1972, and became the Drexel North Theatre in 1986. It closed in the spring of 1995 after 54 years of movies.

During its final years it was operating without a lease. Basically, the people who owned the property decided they wanted to sell the building, and the Drexel could not afford to buy it. Until the owners could find a buyer, the Drexel was permitted to lease the building on a month-to-month basis. Very few developers were interested in the property, and the theatre’s miserable condition was enough to frighten most of them.

However, Revco Drugstores eventually purchased the building at an estimated price of $250,000. Upon acquiring the property, Revco quickly terminated the Drexel North’s monthly lease and instructed the theatre to close.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 18, 2004 at 6:44 pm

When it was still the Beechwold and the Camelot North, it belonged to a small local second-run chain called ‘Academy Theatres’.

They turned this into the Camelot North around the same time as they remodeled the Esquire into the Carousel East.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 19, 2004 at 4:53 pm

Here’s a whole web site about the Demise of the Drexel North, with photos and some history of the theater.

According to this site, CVS purchased and then closed this Revco store several years after it opened. It sat vacant for two years, and then in August 2003 became the Columbus Sports Connection gym.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 8, 2005 at 8:37 am

The Columbus Metropolitan Library has an online historic photo collection with several photos of this and other theatres.

Beechwold Theatre marquee

Beechwold Theatre exterior and interior

(click on the thumbnails to see full-size photos)

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on September 4, 2008 at 2:47 pm

I attended the 1990 horror marathon at this theater for the world premiere of my friend’s short film, “Night of the Living Bread.” I didn’t even come close to lasting the full 24 hours, but it was a lot of fun. It was nice to hear that the marathon tradition continues, even after this theater was torn down.

kpdennis
kpdennis on April 26, 2009 at 3:00 am

Wow, this was a nice little theater when I visited in 1996 – sorry to hear it’s defunct.
The theater:
View link
The concession stand:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34152329@N06/?saved=1

kpdennis
kpdennis on April 26, 2009 at 3:05 am

Okay, retract my earlier comment – I had the Drexel North of Columbus confused with the Drexel of Bexley – so I posted the photo link there as well. Apologies!

DAK8601
DAK8601 on August 1, 2009 at 12:59 am

I really miss this one. My wife and I and our friends were frequent attendees in the late 1980s-early 1990s.

They had great film festivals, marathons, and midnight movies. They showed indies, art films, documentaries, foreign films, and quite a bit of cult fare. We saw pictures like “Akira,” “Brazil,” “Frankenhooker,” “Vampire Hunter D,” “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” and “Robotjox” at the old Drexel North.

Outside wasn’t much but the inside was fun. The lobby had a weird futuristic shape and a bizarre color scheme and was sometimes decorated with props from past sci-fi marathons. It had a kitschy retro-future feel.

They usually had a drawing before the show where patrons could win promotional items like t-shirts, posters, and soundtrack CDs or free passes to upcoming shows.

Screenings were preceded by a mock 1950s educational film called “A Trip to the Movies.”

The building is now (2009) home to a fitness center.

cc213t
cc213t on April 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm

This theater now has its own Facebook group: Remembering the Drexel North / Camelot North / Beechwold Theater.

I would really love to find some pre-1970 interior photos of the Beechwold Theater’s foyer and lobby. (I’m not so sure the interior photos linked to above are of the same theater.) I’ve been searching for years without any luck. I’m wondering if Columbus area theater historian Phil Sheridan might have found some though- he was working on a 4th volume of his book series Those Wonderful Old Downtown Theaters which was to focus more on neighborhood theaters, including the Beechwold. But sadly, Mr. Sheridan’s health declined and he passed away a few years ago before finishing it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 18, 2010 at 6:15 am

The text accompanying the photos at Columbus Metropolitan Library (Ron Newman’s comment of May 8, 2005) says that the Beechwold Theatre was designed by the F&Y Building Service.

While the exterior of the theater was predominantly Streamline Moderne, and even displayed some early Midcentury Modern elements, the photos of the interior show that the auditorium was more ornate than the facade. There was still a lot of Art Deco in that interior design, especially in the wall sconces and the decorations above them.

Hibi
Hibi on December 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm

The description of this theater is not true at all. It was not in bad shape when it closed.

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