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 65 comments)

Dragon013
Dragon013 on April 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Hello, maybe someone is able to help me: I have an old booklet from “Phantom of The Opera” (the silent movie). On the back there is stated: “Loew’s Vendome, Feb. 1st”. So I guess, this booklet is from the Loew’s Vendome, showing the movie. Does someone know the year ? I tried to find this information in the net, but sadly was not able to.

Thanks for any help!

Dragon013

DavePrice
DavePrice on April 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm

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
TLSLOEWS on April 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Thats a good story Dave.

Dragon013
Dragon013 on April 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

@Tinseltoes: That could be possible. Thanks.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 7, 2012 at 5:34 am

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

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on October 30, 2012 at 11:24 am

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
mpotts on December 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

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
TheatreOrgan on December 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm

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 12:07 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
DavePrice on June 14, 2014 at 7:42 am

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

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