01 September 2009

Lost City: Louisville Edition: What's Left of the Ohio Theatre

On Fourth Street, one of the historic main drags of downtown Louisville, Kentucky, there's an area called the Theatre District. It's a bit of a misnomer, since there is only one theatre in the area, the old Spanish Baroque Palace, which was built in 1928, and still functions. It could be argued, however, that there are one and a half theatres. For a part of the Ohio is still there. There's one hell of a giant facade and a sign, and a teeny tiny box office under it. The doors used to lead to an office where you could pay your Cricket wireless. (The storefront is presently vacant.) Don't look for anything beyond it; the rest of the theatre was razed years ago.

The Ohio was built in 1941. It closed as a movie theatre in 1965. Next door used to be the Kentucky Theatre (the name of which might explain the Ohio's seemingly misplaced moniker.) Louisville, unfortunately, had a way with tearing down old theatres. Fourth Street used to be a major promenade for Louisville families intent on a night out. There were dining and entertainment options aplenty. But, one by one, the theatres were torn down: the Rialto, the Majestic, Old Masonic, Rex, Star, Kentucky and Ohio. Only the Palace, restored in the 1990s, survived.

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