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15 Things You Didn’t Know About the Ohio Theatre

Posted: March 17, 2017

Although today is St. Patrick’s Day, we at CAPA are excited to be celebrating the 89th birthday of the Ohio Theatre! This world-class, historic venue has had quite the epic journey to becoming the state and national landmark it is today.

Here are 15 things you may not have known about the Ohio Theatre:

1) The Ohio Theatre opened on March 17, 1928.

2) It was originally a silent movie house.

3) The first film shown here was “The Divine Woman” starring Greta Garbo and Lars Hanson.

4) After completing work on the Palace Theatre just a few blocks away, Scottish-born architect Thomas Lamb designed the opulent Spanish-Baroque style Ohio Theatre as a “palace for the average man.”

5) Interior designer Anne Dornan, one of the first women to graduate from the Columbia School of Architecture, spent more than $1 million on the art and furnishings of the Ohio, even going on a safari to find appropriate decorations for the “Africa Corner” in the lower lounge.

6) The Ohio was the first public building in Columbus with air conditioning.

7) The theatre closed in 1969.

8) “Play Dirty” starring Michael Caine was the last film shown at the Ohio before its closing.

9) That same year, the “Save the Ohio” committee was formed, raising more than $2 million in record time to successfully save the theatre. The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) was created out of that effort.

10) Before the Ohio was saved, the owners had already sold off all the fixtures (CAPA bought them back).

11) The Ohio Theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places, deeming it a national landmark and a historic building contributing to the community’s recreation and culture.

12) It is also the State Theatre of Ohio.

13) The main chandelier inside the house stands 20 feet tall. Approximately every 18 months, it is lowered via a hand crank above the ceiling for cleaning and bulb replacement.

14) The names of the statues on the proscenium are Eleanor and Mary.

15) The magnificent “Mighty Morton” theatre organ is the original instrument installed in 1928 for the theatre’s grand opening. Its pipes and sound effects are built into the ornate, gilded architecture surrounding the Ohio Theatre stage.

Today, the Ohio Theatre continues to be a stunning centerpiece of art and culture in Columbus and in Ohio. Thank you for your support of and pride in this hometown jewel!Check out more photos here!