World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Southern Theatre (Columbus)

Article Id: WHEBN0022937452
Reproduction Date:

Title: Southern Theatre (Columbus)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Columbus, Ohio, Neighborhoods in Columbus, Ohio
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Southern Theatre (Columbus)

Great Southern Hotel and Theatre
Theater entrance
Southern Theatre (Columbus, Ohio)
Location S. High and E. Main Sts., Columbus, Ohio

39°57′22″N 82°59′25″W / 39.95611°N 82.99028°W / 39.95611; -82.99028Coordinates: 39°57′22″N 82°59′25″W / 39.95611°N 82.99028°W / 39.95611; -82.99028

Area less than one acre
Built 1894
Architectural style Colonial Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 82001458[1]
Added to NRHP December 2, 1982

The Southern Theatre is an historic theater located at 21 East Main Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio. It opened on September 21, 1896 and is the oldest surviving theater in Central Ohio and one of the oldest in the state of Ohio. The Southern Theatre is currently owned and operated as a home for live concerts, plays and opera by CAPA (the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts). CAPA also manages several other venues in Columbus including the Ohio, the Palace, and the Lincoln Theatres.[2]



Between 1889 and 1893 a series of fires destroyed five downtown Columbus theaters. As a result, a group of businessmen decided to develop a new hotel and theater with modern construction and safety features on the southern edge of downtown. The building was called "The Great Southern Fireproof Hotel and Opera House", and was designed by the local architectural firm of Dauben, Krumm, and Riebel. Construction began in 1894. Both the theater and the hotel were constructed of "fireproof" tile, brick, iron, steel, and concrete.[3]

The theater's auditorium design was progressive for its day and was reminiscent of Louis H. Sullivan's 1891 Schiller Theatre in Chicago. From the proscenium opening, a series of concentric arches dotted with incandescent electric lights radiate into the house, resulting in superior lighting and excellent acoustics. Built to be self sufficient, the theater, one of the first commercial buildings in Columbus to use electricity, generated its own power. Additionally, the building had three wells in the basement, from which it produced its own water supply.[3] The theatre currently seats 933[4] and is an intimate "jewel box" type theater with two balconies.

In 1982, the Southern Theatre and its associated hotel were added to the National Register of Historic Places.[1]


The Great Southern Theatre originally hosted theatrical touring productions. Sarah Bernhardt was just one of the famous performers to play the theater in its first two decades. In the 1910s and 1920s the theater, now called the Southern, featured first run silent films and live vaudeville. From the 1930s on, the Southern was a popular home for second-run double features. In the 1970s the theater briefly returned to first run fare as the Towne Cinema, showing black exploitation movies. Throughout the 1970s the Southern also hosted a weekly live Country Music Jamboree, sponsored by local radio station WMNI.[3]

The theater closed in 1979 and in 1986 was acquired by CAPA. After sitting empty for nearly two decades, the Southern was completely restored by CAPA in 1997-98 during an extensive 14-month rebuilding process. The newly restored Southern Theatre reopened on September 26, 1998.

See also


External links

  • The Southern Theatre
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.