138 N. Main Street,
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If a theatre had nine lives, this theatre has spent them all. This theatre has caught fire, flooded and dodged the wrecking ball several times in her life.
In 1866 The Turner Opera House was built at E. 1st Street and N. Main Street in Dayton, Ohio. Three years later the opera house burnt to the ground except for the front facade. The theatre reopened on Novermber 28, 1871 as the Music Hall. The original front facade was used, but the auditorium was now on the ground floor and the building itself was about two floors shorter.
In 1885 the theatre name was changed to the Grand Opera House and in 1897, Daytonians got their first peek at motion pictures. On September 18, 1899 the theatre’s name was changed to the Victoria Opera House and then just the Victoria Theatre. The great flood of 1913 severely damaged the theatre, and again she came back only to be destroyed by fire again on January 15, 1918.
In 1919 the theatre was renamed the Victory Theatre in honor of America’s WW I victory. In 1925, Houdini performed at the theatre and was said to have used the theatre’s vents for his great escape. Up until this point the theatre had always had live theatre, but in the 1930’s theatre was taking a back stage to motion pictures.
The theatre continued to show film and ocasional theatre until the 1970’s when the theater was going to be torn down for a parking lot. A grass root effort was started to save the Victory and eventually enough money was raised. A non-profit organization called the Victory Theatre Association was established to operate the theater and in 1989 the theatre underwent a 17.5 million restoration and reopened as the Victoria Theatre.
Today this beautiful theatre is alive with dance, theatre, Broadway style plays and summer movie series. She will be enjoyed for many more generations to come.
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