183 W. 3rd Street,
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Previously operated by: Ohio Movies
Architects: J. Kerr Giffen
Styles: Spanish Moorish
The Bexley Theater was a beautiful single screen theater with a full stage located in Dover, Ohio on 3rd Street. It held 950-seats and had no balcony. The stage was full and deep with floor lights and full set of stage lights. I worked there in its last days as a theater. It was built in the 1930 and always had the same name.
In the 1960’s (when I was a kid) I do remember there was a fire in that building. The auditorium was unscathed, but there was some damage that had been repaired. It had two carbon arc projectors, and an awesome maze under the concession stand area at the front of the theater. It had been shut down in about 1977 and sold by Ohio Theaters(?) out of Pittsburg. They put a clause on the sale that it could never show movies newer than 10 years old. When I was hired (in 1980) the fellow that re-opened it (under a lease) threw out the notion of no new movies and proceeded to kick the butt of the two other theaters still owned by Ohio Theaters (Shea Cinema and the Quaker).
A pending lawsuit forced the overnight closing of the Bexley Theater in 1982. A later auction of the Bexley Theater put it in the hands of a heating & air conditioning company that went on to it and destroyed the auditorium’s beautiful architecture and leveled the floor. They are still the occupiers in 2022. Additionally, the theater used an underground stream to bring cold water to the roof and through a chiller (coil) to keep the auditorium cool (natural air-conditioning) which was inexpensive to operate.
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Recent comments (view all 4 comments)
Here is a 1928 photo from Google books:
So they destroyed some of the auditorium, but what is the state of it today overall?
Here is a November 1969 ad from the Dover Times-Reporter:
Here is a 12/18/76 article from the Dover Times Reporter:
The Bexley Theater in downtown Dover will re-open Christmas Day, manager Kenneth Frew said Friday. It had been closed earlier this month as part of a pre-holiday economy move by Cinema
Corp. of America. Frew said the re-opening, originally scheduled for yesterday, had been delayed because of the popularity of “King Kong,” which opened Friday night at the Quaker Theater in downtown New Philadelphia. The Pittsburgh-based chain owns the two theaters and the Cinema Theater, also in New Philadelphia.
Frew, who manages all three theaters, said the Bexley will re-open with “Two Minute Warning,” starring Charlton Heston. The Bexley was one of more than 60 theaters closed temporarily by Cinema Corp. to reduce operating costs at a time when attendance at; the movies usually drops. The company planned to re-open the theaters with films designed to attract holiday audiences.