New Phillips Theatre

606 E. Main Street,
Richmond, IN 47374

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Phillips Opera House

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This large theatre was constructed sometime before 1886 as the Phillips Opera House. It was a large 3-story brick structure with a hipped roof.

The ground floor was divided into two large retail spaces, and the theatre occupied the upper floors, and was accessed by a wide central stair. The balcony was quite deep, and had an elegantly curved ‘U’ shape.

A three story section at the rear ran behind the building on the corner, and had retail spaces fronting N. 6th Street in the section that protruded from the side. One of these was a bill poster, important for the theatre business. The southern wall of this section contained another large staircase for entry to the auditorium. The rear of the addition was used to store scenery, etc.

By at least 1893, the theatre was operated by Omar G. Murray, later the founder of the eponymous theatre listed separately. The capacity is as given in the 1905-6 Cahn Guide.

By 1914, films had begun to be shown. By then the building was probably a bit old and weary, and it seems to have gone out of business before 1926. The rather messy later map shows that by the 1950 at least, the theatre and neighboring building to the west had been replaced by a large blocky store, which probably remains under a very ugly remodel.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

SethG on April 14, 2021 at 1:47 pm

The theater was replaced by Bartel’s department store, which in older photos appears to have been built in the mid to late ‘20s. It was badly damaged in the 1968 disaster (Marting Arms was across the street). A car was thrown into the show windows and the entire second floor was apparently shifted a few inches back. It was then remodeled into what can be seen on streetview.

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