121 South Jefferson Street,
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When this theater was built in 1914, it was said to be the most beautifully decorated movie house in Dayton at the time. At a cost of $30,000 the paneled ceilings of the auditorium were decorated in a creme color. The beams and all ornamental plaster work were white and gold. The upper walls were of a gold tone with Renaissance style decoration in the style of the 15th century art. The lower walls were decorated with a Spanish leather effect which was done by overglazing with different colors.
The theaters entrance featured a horseshoe shaped entrance, lit by a number of electric bulbs, a rather new invention at the time. The theater opened with an eight reel film called “The Princess of Bagdad”. A Wurlitzer Automatic Orchestra provided music for the film.
As the years went on, the theater started to deline, both due to neglect and B-grade movies. By the 1940’s the theater rarely advertised and was considered a cheap alternative to the more expensive downtown theaters. In 1948, the theater was purchased and remodeled. It was too late. The once beautiful theater was considered by many to be gaudy and outdated.
The Columbia Theater shut its doors in 1959 and was demolished shortly there after. The original site is now part of green space/park in downtown Dayton.
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