Columbia Theatre

500 Broadway Street,
Paducah, KY 42001

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Columbia Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Columbia Theatre stands as a testament to America’s love for movies and theatre in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The 1927 built, brick building has an elaborate facade of blue/white terra cotta tiles. The facade displays eclectic assortment of architectural details, including spiraled Byzantine columns, classical urns, friezes and capitals and busts of Greek goddesses. This theatre in its day was an elegant and exquisite delight… Today needs someone to restore it to its grandeur.

Contributed by carol

Recent comments (view all 40 comments)

larry
larry on June 8, 2009 at 11:34 am

Very sad to see what happens to many old grand theaters

MPol
MPol on July 26, 2009 at 10:00 pm

What a handsome-looking theatre! Are there any photos of the theatre’s interior available, btw? Again, just curious.

MPol
MPol on November 25, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Thanks for the latest photo, Lost Memory. It’s heartrending to see such a handsome theatre shut down like that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 26, 2009 at 2:24 am

I think the first line of the introductory paragraph for the page is supposed to read “The Columbia Theatre stands as a testament to America’s love for the movies and theatre in the 1920’s and 1930’s.” It’s part of the text of the PDF Proposal for renovation of the Columbia and Arcade theaters, available at Paducah Main Street. (The PDF is essentially the same content as the web page, but of course you can make the photos a bit bigger.)

I’ve tried to find the year of the Art Moderne renovation but the closest I can come is an item in the June 21, 1952, issue of Boxoffice that said “The Columbia Amusement Company, Paducah, is doing extensive remodeling at its Columbia Theatre.” 1952 seems a bit late for the Skouras-esque swoops and swirls that were apparently appliqued to the original, restrained interior style (which looks Adamesque to my eye.) There might have been an earlier renovation, but if so Boxoffice isn’t telling me about it.

What I have found in Boxoffice is a few references to the Keiler family’s Columbia Amusement Company operating not only the Columbia, the Arcade, and the Kentucky Theatre, but also a house called the Rialto, currently not listed at Cinema Treasures. There was also one reference to an Orpheum Theatre operated by the Keilers at Paducah, but that might have been an aka for the missing Rialto.

ChrisB
ChrisB on August 9, 2010 at 3:43 am

Somewhat blurry shot of the Rialto marquee here:

View link

jsherrod83
jsherrod83 on August 23, 2010 at 5:33 pm

My name is Joe i am looking for any information on the Columbia Theater in Paducah KY. My wife and I are making a proposal to the city of Paducah in restoration of the theater. I am looking for pictures of the interior from when it was in full working order. We are looking to restore the theater in full working order and as close to the same as it was on April 18, 1927. I am also looking for anyone who would like to lend a hand in the restoration of the theater. I can be contacted at or 618 841 3129

stormdog
stormdog on January 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm

I just shot some pictures of the Colombia while I was in town on a photography trip over the Summer. Here’s a link to the first of the set on my Flickr page.

While looking for into on this theatre online, I also found think like to a video interview of a city employee who’s part of a team that may be working to renovate the building.

http://youtu.be/h5488gIeui4

stormdog
stormdog on January 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm

It’s odd since I planned my trips partly by using Cinema Treasures to see where theatres to photograph were located, but somehow I missed the Arcade. I’m afraid if they have done anything to that building, I didn’t notice it and didn’t realize it was there. Sorry.

Landee
Landee on April 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Please visit www.thecolumbiaclub.org for more information as there have been many strides made to restore this art palace. It is very exciting.

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