Loew's Vendome Theatre

615 Church Street,
Nashville, TN 37219

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Loew's Inc.

Architects: Tignal Franklin Cox, John Bailey McElfatrick

Firms: J. B. McElfatrick and Sons

Styles: Moorish

Previous Names: Vendome Theatre

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Loew's Vendome Theatre

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 71 comments)

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 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 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.

DavePrice on March 26, 2015 at 5:35 pm

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?

rivest266 on February 13, 2016 at 12:45 pm

October 3, 1887 grand opening ad in photo section.

rivest266 on February 13, 2016 at 12:48 pm

September 12th, 1902 grand reopening ad also in photo section.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 13, 2016 at 2:09 pm

An advertisement for Nashville’s new Theatre Vendome, then under construction, appeared in a December, 1886, issue of The New York Mirror and listed the architects as J. D. McElfatrick & Sons.

tntim on August 9, 2017 at 10:22 am

The Nashville Tennessean ran a slideshow to commemorate the anniversary of the fire on August 9, 1967. Link

DavePrice on August 9, 2017 at 10:39 am

Thanks for reminding me- hard to believe the fire was fifty years ago. Wait a minute! That must mean I was fifty years younger! Where did all those years go?

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