Loew's Vendome Theatre

615 Church Street,
Nashville, TN 37219

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Loew's Vendome Theatre

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The Vendome Theatre was built as an opera house with two balconies and sixteen boxes. The main curtain featured scenes from the Paris Place Vendome. The first performance was October 3, 1887 featuring Emma Abbott in “Il Trovatore”. It was rebuilt in 1901 to the plans of architect Frank Cox.

Loew’s took the hall in the mid-1920’s providing vaudeville and movies. The last movie was “The Dirty Dozen” seen on the evening of August 8, 1967. Patrons that night reported smelling burning rubber. After the last show a thorough search of the theatre found nothing. Later the janitors discovered the upper balcony ablaze. The ceiling and roof then caught fire and collapsed into the auditorium bringing both balconies to the floor.

The Vendome Theatre’s lobby survived as retail space until 1986.

Contributed by Will Dunklin

Recent comments (view all 66 comments)

DavePrice on April 9, 2012 at 12:30 am

There’s an old Nashville story of which several versions have been told. Put simply it has been said that when Emma Abbott (mentioned above) was here to open the new Vendome, she went to Sunday service at McKendree Methodist in the next block and was shocked to hear the minister attack the opening of the new theater and the acting profession in general. The story goes that Miss Abbott rose to her feet and defended her profession and the people in it. Varying reactions from the congregation have been reported. Some claim that when the closing hymn was sung, everyone else remained silent so they could hear Miss Abbott’s voice.

TLSLOEWS on April 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Thats a good story Dave.

Dragon013 on April 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm

@Tinseltoes: That could be possible. Thanks.

TLSLOEWS on May 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm

From what i have read Loews bought this theatre in 1920 and ran it till it burned in August 1967.

TLSLOEWS on October 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Nice photo of this theatre was posted by Tinseltoes on the photo page today.I have that same photo but it from a newspaper and not as clear.

mpotts on December 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I remember when Loew’s burned. Even though it’s been a long time ago I can’t forget the marquee proclaiming “The Dirty Dozen..Hottest Picture in Town.”

TheatreOrgan on December 17, 2012 at 4:09 am

The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol.1, page 410, by David Junchen, published 1985, lists a Moller Theatre Pipe Organ, Opus 2812, as orignally being installed in 1919. Three manuals/sixteen ranks costing approximately $6,000.00.

The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol.4, known more as the ‘Wurlitzer Illustrated History’ volume, page 660, completed and published in 2005 after organman David Junchen’s death, lists a Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, Opus 1268, as being installed February 8, 1926, and being a Style H Special, which I believe to have been a three manual organ with probably more ranks than were on the Moller it replaced.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 14, 2014 at 8:07 am

The Vendome Theatre was substantially rebuilt in 1901 to the plans of architect Tignal Franklin Cox, who had recently moved his office from New Orleans to Chicago. A photo of the Vendome’s original facade can be seen on page 10 of this PDF file, a short biography of Frank Cox by his great-granddaughter, Robin Yonish.

DavePrice on June 14, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Joe: You may be a year off. The Vendome burned Jan 2, 1902 and reopened Sept 12, 1902.

DavePrice on March 27, 2015 at 12:35 am

This is slightly off topic, but just across the street. There was a man who had a newsstand at the side of Armstrong’s at Church and Capitol Blvd for years. Some time in the fifties he was run off the streets by a bunch of old ladies who were offended that he sold girlie magazines. For a while he moved to a store on Commerce Street but without the foot traffic didn’t last long. Can anyone tell me his name or what became of him?

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