A Guide to the Louisville Palace Theater and Its Rich History
A Louisville institution that dates all the way back to the 1920's, the Louisville Palace Theater has experienced many incarnations in its history as one of the South's most revered movie houses. From its glitzy start on 4th street to its most recent revamp, the Louisville Palace Theater story is one of hope, tragedy and redemption.
A Hollywood Beginning
Starting out as Loew's Theater, the Louisville Palace Theater opened for show business on September 1st, 1928. Built by the Austrian-American architect John Eberson, who was renowned for his movie houses, this 3300 seat theater was done in a Baroque style and featured a grand lobby, carvings of more than 140 famous figures from Michelangelo to Eberson himself and even a 1000 pipe Wurlitzer organ that remained in the theater until 1978. As a first run movie house that was located in Louisville's entertainment district, Loew's was a symbol of the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood. Upon it's opening in 1928, you could even look up at the dark blue sky of the ceiling and see the twinkling stars of lights that were a perfect representation of Eberson's idea of an atmospheric theater.
The Curtain Falls and A Revival
While the theater fell out of use in the 70's with the changes in entertainment and the cinema, the theater was officially reopened in the 1981 as the Louisville Palace Theater, a live entertainment venue. Purchased by John Siegel for the purpose of restoring the theater to some of its former glory, the Louisville Palace remained open off and on before it was forced to shut its door once again in 1985. Due to the high costs associated with maintaining such a historic building and the need for consistent restorative efforts, Siegel was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1991. While Siegel was not able to keep the classic Louisville building open, he did receive the Preservation Award from Louisville's Preservation Alliance in 1995 for contributing to the restoration of a local landmark.
Cue the Bright Lights Again!
Though Sunshine Theater, Inc. purchased the theater soon after it closed its doors, it wasn't reopened again until 1994. Having gone through a number of different owners since, the Louisville Palace Theater is now owned by the entertainment company Live Nation and has been since 2005, hosting a number of artists, performers and films in one of Louisville's most historic venues. While much of the theater has gone through restoration work and the fountains that used to spray water are no longer used, many of the plaster figures were restored in the mid-2000's as well as much of the painting. Providing an indelible link to its past, the original ticket booth from the theater's opening remains to this day, and the building is one of the few theaters by John Eberson that is still standing.
As the only remaining cinema of its era in Louisville, the Louisville Palace Theater retains its former glory as one of the city's primary venues for entertainment. From its start as an atmospheric theater during Hollywood's golden age to its modern incarnation as a performance venue, the Louisville Palace Theater remains one of the city's most prized buildings.
About the Author: Joe Hayden is the Team Owner and Manager of the Joe Hayden Real Estate Team - Your Louisville Real Estate Experts!