719-723 Jefferson Avenue,
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Showman Frank Burt opened Burt’s Theatre in downtown Toledo in 1898. Famed Toledo architect George Mills used a 15th Century building as the basis for the Venetian styled venue. Burt’s Theatre caught the back end of the middle-class live sentimental melodrama era business before going for vaudeville when that seemed more likely to draw customers to the large venue. The venue closed in 1908 looking for new operators.
Two times during its vaudeville runs, Burt’s Theatre turned to motion pictures in an attempt to stay viable. Once was during Burt’s run and the other was in 1909 after Burt had moved from Toledo to Denver and the theatre was in new operator’s hands. Mills would become the architect of the 1911 opening B.F. Keith Theatre which would doom Burt’s Theatre.
Burt’s Theatre closed in 1913, likely at the end of a 15-year lease. It was gutted for a parking facility concept widely reported in 1915 trade publications including “Horseless World,” “Automotive Industries,” and “The Automobile.”
The location became a much smaller nightclub with 500 seats. Home to the Peppermint Club hosting acts including the Everly Brothers, Chubby Checker and Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1960’s, and later the Country Palace, it was most recently home of Caesar’s Show Bar, a drag bar with shows closing in 2010.
Burt’s Theatre landed in the National Register of Historic Places listings in Lucas County, Ohio in 1977.
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