Classic Theater

815-817 W. 5th Street,
Dayton, OH 45407

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Additional Info

Architects: Albert Pretzinger

Firms: Pretzinger & Musselman

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Classic Theater

Built by Carl Anderson and Goodrich Giles, the Classic Theater in Dayton opened on August 25, 1927. It is thought to be the first theater in the United States to be built, operated and managed by African-Americans. Anderson and Giles built the Classic Theater because African-Americans were discouraged from attending the downtown theaters.

Movies were shown downstairs, while live entertainment, such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie, took place upstairs in the ballroom. The Classic Theater had seats for 500, and first-run movies were shown.

The Classic Theater closed its doors for the last time in 1959 and despite efforts over the years to save this theater, it was demolished in October 1991. The marquee was saved and moved to storage in the hope of building another theater in the area some day.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Gary Smith
Gary Smith on September 18, 2013 at 9:16 am
Above is an url to a little video I posted on YouTube of the Classic Theatre on W Fifth st.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm

A few drawings and plans for a theater at Dayton, Ohio, designed in 1926 for Carl P. Anderson are in the Pretzinger Architectural Collection at Wright State University. It must have been the Classic Theatre. The papers in this collection are mostly from the offices of the various firms Dayton architect Albert Pretzinger was involved with. In 1926, when the Classic Theatre was designed, he was a partner in the firm of Pretzinger & Musselman.

LeonNorman on October 10, 2015 at 6:49 pm

Found an actual image of theater and posted it in “Photo” section.

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